In terms of sheer movie queen glam, the likes of Nicole Kidman haven't been seen in Charm City in decades. So it's all the more notable that the statuesque Australian beauty will star in Invasion, which is scheduled to shoot here this fall.
That's not to say that Bawlamer hasn't seen its share of stars in the past.
Geena Davis spent considerable film time here in 1988 for The Accidental Tourist based on the book written by Baltimore novelist Anne Tyler, as did Meg Ryan in 1993 for Sleepless in Seattle. But they skew more to the quirky and adorable than the aloof and magnetic.
And granted, the alluring Julia Roberts showed up in Baltimore to shoot some scenes for 1999's The Runaway Bride, but the bulk of that movie was shot on the Eastern Shore.
So the nine weeks that the film crew is expected to spend in Central Maryland doubtless will offer potential for plenty of Nicole sightings.
"It's still so early in the process," warned Jack Gerbes, director of the Maryland Film Office. "Nothing has been decided yet. The excitement is premature."
Still, based on past practice, knowledge of Kidman's habits gleaned from newspaper articles and comments from industry insiders, we've compiled a kind of birdwatcher's guide that may increase your chances of spotting the lustrously plumed but elusive prey: Housing: Past film crews have stayed at the Marriott Waterfront, Harbor Court and Tremont Plaza hotels, Gerbes said.
Director Barry Levinson is said to favor the Tremont Plaza, 222 St. Paul Place, while director Jonathan Demme prefers the Admiral Fell Inn, 888 S. Broadway.
Dining: Your best bet for a sighting is a restaurant with an extensive vegetarian menu, as Kidman is widely known as a nonmeater who is fastidious about her food.
Possibilities include Pazo, the tapas bar that ranks among Baltimore's most cutting-edge establishments, and Helmand, which serves Afghanistan cuisine. (Note to Kidman: Try the baked baby pumpkin.)
Tony Foreman, who owns Pazo as well as Charleston and Petit Louis, said that his restaurants can accommodate those wishing to dine anonymously.
"We have a lot of regular guests, some whose names you'd recognize, and some who you wouldn't," he says.
"We have private rooms with private entrances. A number of guests, both politicians and theatrical figures, have entered through the kitchen and left through the kitchen."
But not all celebrities are so shy. When John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix were filming Ladder 49 in Baltimore last year, they occasionally greeted fans at Germano's restaurant in Little Italy.
Down time: In the past, Kelly Ripken, wife of Cal, has donated primo Baltimore Orioles tickets to visiting celebrities, according to Erin Jakowski, operations manager for the Maryland Film Festival.
This may be a popular option, especially if, ahem, the Orioles still are playing in October.
Kidman is known for traveling with her children, who were frequent visitors on the set for Moulin Rouge in 2001. So on days when she's not busy on the set, she might check out the or .
And what better to take your mind off work than a hot romance? Especially since Kidman's ex-hubby, Tom Cruise, has recently and very publicly declared his passion for Katie Holmes. Just supposing that Kidman were to find her Prince Charming in Charm City, here's a pastime the health-conscious twosome might enjoy:
Dug Baker of Charm City Zen promises that he'd never ask her, even once, about all that trouble with Tom. Instead, he began listing yoga traditions to which he'd like to introduce the actress, who reportedly is a longtime practitioner of the discipline.
"It's always exciting to work with people who are more advanced in their abilities," he said. "An opportunity like that would really be beneficial for the whole yogi community."