Marvel. Middle Earth. Hogwarts. Star Wars. These are just a few of the fictional worlds that have had fans clamoring for more, from sequels to prequels to spin-offs. And with a top film of 2017, another fictional location could soon be joining those iconic ranks: Sacramento.
Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, Lady Bird, has fans and critics alike clamoring for more of the quaint city, which serves as the “capital” of California in the Lady Bird universe. From the little the coming-of-age story depicts of the city, there’s so much more of Sacramento we want to know.
As a creator, Gerwig has mapped out every street, school, store, and even created deep backstories for folks not even featured in Lady Bird itself. The folks at Google have even indulged Gerwig’s creative prowess—just type “Sacramento” into GoogleMaps and you can explore this vast, fictional landscape all you want. But why? Why not just place Lady Bird in a real city?
“I just feel like in order to truly know my characters, to make the film more honest, I had to fully develop this place where they could feel rooted in their everyday dramas,” the auteur says.
Oxford University’s foremost J.R.R. Tolkien scholar, Dr. Wesley Kerrigan, is floored by Gerwig’s attention to detail. “The intellectual dexterity expressed in the creation of this, ‘Sacramento’ world…nothing short of masterly,” he says. “I’m fluent in Elvish, which is absolute cake compared to what Gerwig had to undergo to plot out the big blue house, that bridge, and even a parking lot that kids hang out in—unbelievable.”
It’s true, and unsurprising given its scope, that this project has been a lifelong one for Gerwig. “I spent the first 18 years of my life imagining myself in that world of Sacramento,” she says. “I imagined I was playing on those streets, going to a Catholic school, rooting for this fictional basketball team I called the Sacramento Kings. So, when it came down to making the film, it all came very naturally to me, almost as if I’d ‘lived’ it.”
So—is a sequel in the works? Gerwig hints there might be something more in store for this wildly mundane town.
“I mean, just say the word out loud,” says Gerwig. “Sacramento—it has such an intoxicating, other-worldly ring to it, doesn’t it?” It sure does, Greta—so give us more!