Tom Hanks in 2009 at a ceremony for George Harrison to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Angela George [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Tom Hanks some years after Forrest Gump. Forrest’s bench is on the Paramount lot, and the facility will soon be getting a major expansion. Angela George [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Hollywood movie lot home to hundreds of famous films and their stars – including Indiana Jones, Forrest Gump and various versions of Star Trek – is getting the official OK for a major expansion.

A $700 million plan to expand and renovate Paramount Pictures studio lot in Hollywood over the next 25 years has been approved by the Los Angeles City Council.

As one council member put it, the investment will help “keep Hollywood in Hollywood.”

According to thestudiotour.com website, parts of Tom Hank’s 1994 classic Forrest Gump were shot on Stage 15 on the Paramount lot, and the bench featured throughout the movie “has a permanent home just beside the Bronson Gate on the lot.”

Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones met “Mutt” in a cafe that’s part of a permanent set on the backlot in the unfortunate 2008 “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Mutt may not be a character readily remembered, as the film was critically panned and considered by many to be the worst of the Indiana Jones series.

Scenes from hundreds of known and forgotten movies were shot on the Paramount lot over the decades. They included numerous Star Trek films, Austin Powers parodies, The Addams Family, Airplane!, Heaven Can Wait, Saturday Night Fever, the Godfather, Rosemary’s Baby, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Vertigo, Ten Commandments, Rear Window and many more.

The new expansion plan at Paramount for new production offices, sound stages and other facilities at the Melrose Avenue studio would add about 1.4 million square feet to the 60-acre site.

Sharon Keyser, a Paramount senior vice president, told the City Council that the plan “preserves our rich history at Paramount Pictures, while allowing us to modernize our facilities for the future.”

Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, whose district includes the studio, called the plan a “very exciting milestone” that will benefit “the longest operating and only remaining major studio in Hollywood” and retain film and television industry jobs.

“Improvements outlined in the specific plan will enable Paramount to remain competitive and keep Hollywood in Hollywood,” O’Farrell said at Tuesday’s meeting.

—City News Service

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