Sacramento Delta: Locke fit for the pictures

Road Journals Blog—Stroll down Main Street in downtown Locke, with its turn-of the-last-century wood-frame buildings, and it’s hard not to feel like you’re on a movie set. That feeling isn’t so far off. This small town in no stranger to movie cameos.

Downtown Locke - scenic enough for the movies | samdessordi/Flickr

In 1988, Clint Eastwood filmed parts of his Charlie Parker bio-pic Bird in Locke, using the weathered wood-frame buildings as a backdrop.

Later came Life, a 1999 dramedy starring Eddie Murphy. The story was set in Mississippi, but a good deal of the film was shot in Locke.

Lisa Padilla/Flickr

Now comes On the Road, a forthcoming adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s novel, starring Sam Riley, Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen, among others. This past December, some of the cast and crew rolled into Locke, not that many locals knew who they were.

“I’m sure some of them were famous or at least thought they were,” says Richard Wall, aka Bubba, owner of Al’s Place Restaurant. “But honestly, I couldn’t tell you who they were.”

One face he did recognize, once: Clint Eastwood’s.

“At one point during the day, Clint popped his head into the restaurant, looked around, then left,” Wall says. “I’m not sure what he was doing here or if he was part of the filming or not. But he’s one of those guys you can’t help but notice.”

Josh Sens's stories about the Sacramento Delta will appear on in June.

This blog post was first published in June 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.