Reese Witherspoon has swooshed into town.
A black SUV with California plates disgorged the actress outside the Widener Building, across from City Hall, on Friday. She's here through October to shoot an untitled James L. Brooks comedy, in which she's in a love triangle with Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd.
The production this week is to move to the Armory at Drexel University, under security that generally surrounds heads of state.
Witherspoon is staying at a hotel until a private home can be readied. She and beau Jake Gyllenhaal were a favorite paparazzi quarry in Washington, where production began last month.
Costar Jack Nicholson, who with his cigar has been a fixture around Rittenhouse Square, is on his way out. He'll return for more work in September.
Rudd also has been friendly to the locals; he visited Oh! Shea's Pub on Sansom Street near 19th recently.
And some trivia: Brooks and company briefly installed a prop building directory at the Widener. Perhaps when the movie comes out, you'll see that the list of tenants includes "Martin L. King," "Stephen Colbert," and the law firm "Johnson & Nixon LLC."
Filmmakers just love 21st Street near Delancey. The Brooks movie - for which Philly is playing the part of Washington - shot scenes there on Wednesday and Thursday, just as the Neil Patrick Harris-Bonnie Somerville comedy, The Best and the Brightest, which is "set" in New York, did last month. The 2000 block of Delancey, which got screen time in The Sixth Sense and Trading Places, also shows up in The Answer Man, a comedy starring Jeff Daniels and Lauren Graham that previously carried the titles The Dream of the Romans and Arlen Faber. The Answer Man, which was screened a few months ago at the Philadelphia Film Festival and had a New York "premiere" Thursday night, opens Friday at the Ritz at the Bourse as part of a limited national release.
Denzel Washington stunned staff by stopping at the Rita's at Island and Passyunk Avenues with an aide and a bodyguard, and he let on that he is staying here this summer. Washington has a soft spot for Philadelphia - the city, if not the Oscar-winning movie he shot here in late 1992 with Tom Hanks. His son Malcolm has enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, while his daughter (and Malcolm's twin) Olivia is attending college on the East Coast. For the record, Washington gave the kid at the counter $50 for two cherry gelati and said, "Keep the change." Quick-thinking Rita's employee Nageena Abdullah-Johnson, a student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, said she grabbed her camera from her bag, and Washington took a photo of them with his left hand.
Rich Landau, chef/co-owner of the all-vegan Horizons Philadelphia restaurant (611 S. Seventh St.), has been booked to cook at the James Beard House in New York City. A rep for the culinary destination said Horizons would be the first vegan restaurant to be represented. Landau and his wife, Kate Jacoby, are up for Nov. 3.
The Philly company iugo is behind a neat Facebook application called Do Write, a fund-raiser developed for the Spells Writing Center, a nonprofit aimed at helping kids at phillyspells.org. Do Write is a continuing story, which author Jennifer Weiner started by writing the first paragraph. For each dollar contributed, you buy the privilege of seeing the last line and writing a new line. For $2, you see the two previous lines and write two lines, and so on. After three months, the book will be sold online.
A parent and his money are soon parted: The Wachovia Center will open a souvenir shop from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday on the eve of the two Jonas Brothers concerts. No tickets to the show are required to shop - just cash and major credit cards.
While marking the opening of SquareBurger, Stephen Starr's summertime snack stand on Franklin Square across from Police Headquarters, 400 police and fire personnel got a free lunch Monday.
CBS3 meteorologist Doug Kammerer and wife Holly have a girl, Cally Ann, born last Sunday. They have a son, Kenton, 21/2.
Brian Dawkins, the longtime Eagle who's now a Denver Bronco, has put his house in Voorhees on the market. He's asking $555,000 for the four-bedroom Colonial on less than a third of an acre that he and wife Connie bought for $293,626 in 1998, according to Camden County records. Realtor is Tammi Trotter, wife of former Eagle Jeremiah Trotter. The Dawkinses have moved way up. In May, they bought a new, 5,700-square-foot four-bedroom on a 1.6-acre lot in Parker, Colo., for $1.3 million, according to Douglas County records. The home's sales description boasted mountain views. Best they could do in Voorhees was Kresson Road.