The critically-acclaimed movie "Lady Bird" gives Sacramento lots of recognizable screen time. Ed Fletcher The Sacramento Bee
The critically-acclaimed movie "Lady Bird" gives Sacramento lots of recognizable screen time. Ed Fletcher The Sacramento Bee

Movie News & Reviews

‘Lady Bird’ turned these Sacramento locations into selfie spots. Could tourists follow?

By Ed Fletcher

efletcher@sacbee.com

November 25, 2017 03:55 AM

UPDATED November 25, 2017 08:01 AM

The city’s convention and visitors bureau works hard trying to convince people that California’s capital is a cool place to visit.

“Lady Bird,” the critically acclaimed film, just made that job easier.

“It’s kind of a little gem that drops out of the sky,” said Kari Miskit, a spokeswoman for Visit Sacramento.

The visitors bureau, through its film commission office, worked with writer and director Greta Gerwig and the production team during their 2016 shoot. The coming-of-age film by Sacramento native Gerwig follows a Catholic schoolgirl named Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) who desperately wants to get out of the city, which she deems too small.

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After the film opened to rave reviews – it still has a 100 percent critics score on Rotten Tomatoes – Visit Sacramento sees potential for the movie to stir greater interest in Sacramento among tourists and businesses. Since the film launched, Visit Sacramento has been paying to boost social media posts about the movie and pitching story ideas to travel reporters.

“We are grateful for her showcasing Sacramento,” Miskit said.

“A lot of times Sacramento is used as a location, but the city is not named,” Miskit said. “This is a movie where she uses the name over and over again.”

While the movie features some well-known landmarks, it also highlighted some lesser-known spots whose sudden fame has attracted people taking selfies.

The big blue house
A24 Films

Big Blue House

In the movie: Lady Bird talks about it being her favorite house.

Real location: 1200 block of 44th Street in East Sacramento.

About the shoot: “It’s pretty neat that we get to share what we think is one of the best parts of Sacramento,” said Chris Wood, a Sacramento attorney who lives in the home with his family.

He said it was a real treat to watch the production company turn his kitchen into the makeup room. The crew made sure the house was perfect from every angle. Wood said he’ll have to keep the yard and house looking nice as movie fans come by to snap photos and see the house in real life.

Thrift Town on El Camino Avenue in North Sacramento
A24 Films

Thrift Town

In the movie: Lady Bird visits twice to shop for special occasions.

Real location: 410 El Camino Ave., one of three Thrift Town locations in Sacramento.

About the shoot: “It’s just great exposure for us. We loved being part of the movie,” said Wendy Steinmetz, one of the owners.

Steinmetz said the store stayed open during the shoot and customers had to freeze in place when they heard “quiet on set.” She said it’s hard to tell why new faces are arriving in stores, but she thinks many are Sacramento residents who saw the movie and finally decided to stop by.

American Market & Deli
A24 Films

American Market & Deli

In the movie: Lady Bird visits after a landmark birthday to make some purchases.

Real location: 2331 N St.

About the shoot: During the shoot, real life cashier Gurpreet Singh played the cashier.

Singh said people are already snapping photos of themselves in front of the colorful mural painted in 2007 by local artists Daniel Osterhoff, Miguel Perez, Shaun Burner and Max McMaster.

Tower Bridge
A24 Films

Tower Bridge

In the movie: The Tower Bridge – possibly the most recognizable structure in Sacramento – appears at least twice on screen.

Real location: The bridge, which opened in 1935, links Sacramento to West Sacramento.

About the shoot: Lucy Steffens, the city’s film commissioner, said she hopes the film leads to more productions set or shot in Sacramento. “Lady Bird” mixes exterior shots in Sacramento with indoor scenes shot in Los Angeles.

“We love the buzz inside town but we hope that this film creates more exposure for Sacramento as a filming location,” said Steffens, who noted how easy it is to film here.

Club Raven

In the movie: The neon Club Raven sign appears briefly on screen.

Real location: 3246 J St.

About the shoot: “They featured all the cool signs in Sacramento,” said Shannon Barnes-Arguijo, who has owned the club for eight years. She said she doesn’t know if Gerwig has ever been to the Raven, but she is planning to make a “Lady Bird” drink in the film’s honor.

Tower Theatre

In the movie: The iconic Tower sign appears briefly on screen.

Real location: 2508 Land Park Dr.

About the shoot: An image of the iconic art deco sign appears in the movie. The Land Park theater was the only place showing the film until last week, when it moved into wider release. The Tower hosted the local premiere for the film on Oct. 29, and Gerwig at the event dubbed it her “love letter to Sacramento.”

Pasty Shack

In the movie: The Pasty Shack sign appears briefly.

Real location: 4746 J St.

About the shoot: While the sign is barely in the movie, manager Paula Gutierrez said the store is still getting remarks from customers. She said she had five customers walk in Monday who said they were curious to find out about the Shack’s offerings after watching the movie.

'The love letter to Sacramento': What actress Greta Gerwig said at Tower Theater

Family, friends and fans lined up outside Tower Theatre in Sacramento on Sunday night (October 30, 2017) for the local premiere of Sacramento-native Greta Gerwig’s autobiographical film “Lady Bird.” She spoke to the audience before and after the film.

Tim Swanson/Sacramento Bee Photos by Paul Kitagaki Jr/Video edited by David Caraccio

'Lady Bird' trailer puts Sacramento in the spotlight

The film, written and directed by Greta Gerwig, stars Saoirse Ronan as a Sacramento teenager trying to find her way out of California as she struggles with a strained relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf), her Catholic high school and her lofty aspirations.

Trailer courtesy of A24

Ed Fletcher: 916-321-1269, @NewsFletch