'Lady Bird' puts often overlooked Sacramento on the Hollywood map

Sacramento is hoping to capitalize on the attention that a pair of movies are bringing to the often-overlooked capitol of California.

The coming of age film “Lady Bird” and biographical drama “The 15:17 to Paris” couldn’t be more different when it comes to tone and plot, but they do have one thing in common: the city its characters call home.

This image released by A24 Films shows Saoirse Ronan, left, and Lucas Hedges in a scene from "Lady Bird." The film was nominated for an Oscar for best picture on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. The 90th Oscars will air live on ABC on Sunday, March 4.  (Merie Wallace/A24 via AP)

Saoirse Ronan, left, and Lucas Hedges in a scene from "Lady Bird." The film was nominated for an Oscar for best picture on Tuesday. Sacramento is hoping to capitalize on the attention the movie is bringing to the often-overlooked capitol of California.  (AP)

Oscar-nominated “Lady Bird” writer and director Greta Gerwig said she wrote the movie to pay homage to her hometown.

“I grew up in Sacramento and I love Sacramento, so the initial impulse to make the film was a desire to write a love letter to a place that only came into focus after I left,” she said.

The film takes place in the city around 2002 and won the Golden Globe award for best comedy film, and is nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress.

“It’s not a show off-y city. It does not brand itself or try to sell itself. There is modesty and integrity to the place and the people,” said Gerwig, whose film starring Saoirse Ronan tells the tale of a young woman coping with teenage angst.

This Jan 8, 2018 photo shows a home in Sacramento, Calif., featured in the movie "Lady Bird." The location is among a number of real places features in this year's Oscar-nominated films. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

This Jan 8, 2018 photo shows a home in Sacramento, Calif., featured in the movie "Lady Bird." The location is among a number of real places features in this year's Oscar-nominated films.  (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

For years, Sacramento has been a stand-in for other locales in movies such as the award-winning drama “American Beauty” and the Eddie Murphy comedy “Life.” But “Lady Bird” is the first time that Sacramento has played itself.

Sacramento landmarks like the Tower Bridge and businesses like Thrift Town are featured in the film.

“We’ve seen an uptick in all of our stores these past few months. The store where it was filmed is seeing and hearing more – definitely exciting for us,” said Thrift Town co-owner Wendy Steinmetz.

In this Jan. 9, 2018 photo, a man runs with his dog on the river walk along the Sacramento River, used in the movie "Lady Bird." The location is among a number of real places features in this year's Oscar-nominated films.  (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

In this Jan. 9, 2018 photo, a man runs with his dog on the river walk along the Sacramento River, used in the movie "Lady Bird." The Oscar-nominated writer and director Greta Gerwig said she wrote the movie to pay homage to her hometown.  (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

“It’s definitely an exciting time, and we can’t wait to see what comes next,” said Sacramento Film Commissioner Lucy Steffens. “We’re hopeful that moviegoers got a sense of what residents here already know – that there’s something special and unique about Sacramento.”

In the thriller “The 15:17 to Paris,” real-life heroes Alex Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler star as themselves—along with Sacramento. The film, directed by Clint Eastwood, chronicles the actions of three friends who thwarted a terror attack on a train in France in 2015. The men were honored in Sacramento with a ticker-tape parade.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said the city plans to honor Greta Gerwig in the future and describes her as “quintessential Sacramento.” He went so far as to praise her in the recent state of the city address.
“Gerwig is shining a spotlight on Sacramento,” Steinberg said, “as a unique intersection of humanity, diversity, and creativity.”

The city is ready to embrace visitors who like what they see on the big screen. Local leaders like Visit Sacramento’s Mike Testa say tourists won’t be disappointed with what the city has to offer: “Great bars, great restaurants and an entertainment scene that’s making national noise.”