It was about 18 years ago that John Dickerson and Matthew Noyes were at an Ashland plaza singing Grateful Dead songs.
Now, they are back being paid to reenact what happened here at Lithia Plaza the day that Grateful Dead band member Jerry Garcia died.
“We are going to have 120 extras here and 60 cars so we are going to control the whole plaza,” said first assistant director Urs Herschbiegl.
That’s the day in 1995 that Cheryl Strayed made her way to Lithia Plaza while on an 1,100-mile hike of the Pacific Crest Trail in a journey of self discovery.
Herschbiegl said “she runs into a young guy that hands out flyers for a Dead Head concert for a Jerry Garcia memorial concert later that night and she meets him here on the plaza, and they have a little affair together. And that’s basically the action that happens with Cheryl in Ashland.”
She documented her journey into a best selling novel and it’s now going to the big screen.
“We’re doing a movie adaptation of the whole thing,” Herschbiegl said.
Reese Witherspoon has the leading role.
Posting on her Facebook, Witherspoon said, “Here’s first pic of me as Cheryl Strayed in “Wild”. So excited to play Cheryl Strayed in a movie!”
She’s excited and so are the many people passing by wondering what’s going on and snapping pictures as soon as they find out.
“We don’t really have Hollywood coming into town, especially Ashland, so when it does, people are normally cool about it,” said Ashland resident Emily Harris.
The film production equipment and vehicles will use both Winburn Way and the Historic Ashland Armory on Oak Street as ‘base camp’ from late Monday evening through early Wednesday morning. They will be shooting scenes on and around the Plaza and will park 1995 or older vehicles in that area to reflect the period in which the movie is set. Traffic is rerouted both for the safety of the cast and crew, and so that vehicles newer than 1995 are not inadvertently captured in the background of the film.