Carmen Austin, owner of Carmen's of Roland Park Family Cuts, is ready for her 15 minutes of fame.
Come October, she said, Julia Roberts and Richard Gere -- along with a posse of movie production people -- might just descend on her Cold Spring Lane barber shop to shoot part of a movie now titled "Runaway Bride." The movie is being produced by Lakeshore Entertainment and distributed by Paramount Pictures.
Austin said a Paramount representative told her that Paramount singled out her shop because it has an "antique" feel, due in large part to an old-fashioned barber's pole spinning out front.
"Everybody loves my barber pole," Austin said. "Including myself."
The director of the movie is Garry Marshall -- best known for the films "Pretty Woman" and "Dear God" as well as the television shows "Happy Days" and "Laverne and Shirley." The producer is Mario Iscovich, producer of "What's Love Got To Do With It" and both "Sister Act" films.
Beth Unger Morrison, who gets permission to use locations for the film, said Wednesday that Paramount Pictures had not yet decided whether it would shoot the movie in Baltimore. She said Paramount was also considering Los Angeles and other cities. Monday, in writing, Morrison requested permission for Paramount to film part of the movie in The Sun newsroom. But yesterday, she called the Sun to say Paramount was no longer interested in filming at the newspaper. She didn't know whether Paramount was still considering Baltimore.
Michael Styer, director of the Maryland Film Office, would not comment specifically about "Runaway Bride" but said Thursday morning his office was in the process of trying to recruit several movies to Maryland.
"We're working on a number of films," he said. "They're all preliminary, and they all could fall through."
Paramount wasn't talking, either. Erin Kaufman, an assistant coordinator at Lakeshore Entertainment, said Paramount isn't ready yet to discuss the movie with the press. She said the company plans to hire a publicist for the movie soon and will be ready to discuss details "probably in several weeks."
Trying to attract movies to town is no small business. Styer said, on average, big movie companies spend $40 million to $45 million per film. On location, he said, they spend about a million dollars a week. About half of that goes toward salaries for crews, he said. The other half is for supplies and materials, hotels, food and other expenses.
"Runaway Bride" is about a newspaper columnist named Ike Graham (to be played by Gere) who writes tasteless columns about the opposite sex. He gets fired for libeling a woman named Maggie Carpenter (to be played by Roberts) whom he nicknames "The Runaway Bride" because she has run from three different grooms. Graham travels to Ohio to meet the runaway bride, who is planning her fourth wedding. He intends to write about her but ends up falling in love with her.
Austin, the barber, said she worries a little about Paramount filming in her barber shop.
"I just don't want to lose customers if it can be prevented," she said. So far, she said, that doesn't seem to be a problem, as many of her male customers have already joked that they want to be there if Julia Roberts visits, even if it means getting their nose hairs or eyelashes trimmed. And the women who patronize her shop have been making similar cracks about Richard Gere -- only they plan to bat their eyelashes instead of trimming them.
Tim Schoepke, a regular at Carmen's, said Paramount would be smart to pick Carmen's.
"They'll get a great haircut, and they'll get a slice of Baltimore there, too," he said. But it will take more than movie stars to make him change his schedule.
"Stars or no stars, I'm there every other Saturday," he said.
Pub Date: 8/28/98