had just finished a panel promoting the May HBO film “Hemingway & Gellhorn” when I caught her eye as she prepared to leave the stage during the TV critics’ winter press tour.
There were a lot of things I could have asked her as she walked towards me before she was whisked away. I was gathering quotes for People magazine, but instead of asking something useful for my employer, the first thing out of my mouth came directly from my Livermore heart:
“I just wanted to say how much we appreciated you stopping to chat with everyone after the Livermore shooting days,” I gushed.
She turned on a brilliant smile than was more down home than Hollywood.
“Yes, they were all so lovely to us. I remember them standing outside waiting. All those little kids, with their signs and their flowers, were wonderful,” Kidman said warmly. “The great part of being an actor is being able to meet all these people in small towns that you wouldn’t normally meet. I really do hope I get to go back to Livermore.”
And then her publicity people hustled her off as other journalists mobbed her.
Livermore popped into my mind often during the tour this month, especially when bumping into the stars of the 2005 indie film “Dead and Breakfast.”
The film by Matthew Steven Leutwyler, whose company made the Oscar-nominated film “The Squid and the Whale,” grabbed a bunch of his pals to make a zombie-horror film set in a small town. The film stars included Ever Carradine, her late uncle David, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the sheriff and Jeremy Sisto as one of the ill-fated friends who made the mistake of staying at a deadly bed and breakfast.
The movie was shot mainly around Concannon and the old Queen Anne house was the site of the considerable mayhem in the film.
The house once stood at the corner of 4th and K, but was moved in 1966 to the corner of Concannon where South Livermore Avenue turns into Tesla. The house was supposed to be restored, but sat vacant for years. When I moved to Livermore, it looked every inch a haunted house.
John Madden told me years ago that his wife Virginia would see that house as they drove by and wanted to fix it up to its former glory — which they did. After Madden sold it to The Wine Group, which owns Concannon, it was moved again to its current site further back on the Concannon property and serves as a wedding spot.
Which is just a big detour around the next stop, which was asking some of the actors about their memories of filming in Livermore.
Or lack thereof.
Sisto now stars in the ABC comedy “Suburgatory” and after trading jokes about the deadly suburbs of his show vs. Livermore, we talked about his film experiences here.
So what was the horror of being in suburban Livermore?
“Oh, yeah. Livermore. All I remember is a lot of late night poker games at that hotel near the freeway and a lot of long nights filming bloody scenes,” Sisto said. “I can’t say Livermore left a clear image in my memory.”
But, I reminded him, you shot in the middle of a vineyard.
“That explains the lack of memory,” joked Sisto.
His friend and co-star Jeffrey Dean Morgan is best known as the doomed love interest Denny on “Grey’s Anatomy,” although others know him as the demon-hunting late dad of the Winchester brothers who took over his legacy on the CW’s series “Supernatural.” He now headlines the new Starz! series “Magic City” as a mobbed up hotel owner.
I mention talking to Jeremy a few days previously.
“Oh, we just went out to dinner last night,” the always-cordial Morgan said.
And he didn’t mention Livermore?
“No, strangely Livermore didn’t come up,” said Morgan, laughing.
Morgan recalled his fondest memory of Livermore is that they were all the best of friends who got together to make a movie.
“We had like $500,000 and the script was written in like a week and was written around the location,” Morgan said.
“(Livermore) was a nice town and there was this great bar we used to go to,” Morgan said. “I liked it a lot. And I remember the wine. Maybe that’s why we don’t have a lot of great memories because we enjoyed the vineyards a little too much.”