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"Cat in the Hat' ignores Longleaf

The Cat in the Hat

curled up near L.A.

after scratching poor Pasco

off its places to play

Longleaf wasn't catnip for the The Cat in the Hat after all.

The Pasco County neighborhood had thrown its hat in the ring as a possible location for the live-action movie based on the Dr. Seuss classic.

Instead, the film's production company plans to film the Mike Myers movie starting in September in the Southern California cities of Pomona and Simi Valley.

Longleaf developer Frank Starkey said he figured Cat had made other plans. He received no response from the photo kit he sent to Los Angeles via the Florida Governor's Office of Film & Entertainment.

"It was a long shot. It wasn't anything I ever put any bigs hopes in," Starkey said Monday.

Rainy Day Productions, the company behind The Cat in the Hat, put out a call across the country for a neighborhood in the "new-urban" style surrounded by countryside.

Longleaf, a 2-year-old community northeast of Little Road and State Road 54 that features such details as front porches and picket fences, seemed a nice fit.

Susan Simms, whom the Florida film office stations in L.A. to keep track of location scouting opportunities, said Longleaf was "exactly what they were looking for."

Another Longleaf advantage was that Bo Welch, the movie's director, worked in Pasco before. He was production designer for the 1990 Tim Burton film Edward Scissorhands, filmed in the Carpenters Run neighborhood in Land O'Lakes.

First published in 1957, The Cat in the Hat is a beloved children's book. The story takes place in the house of two children trapped inside on a rainy day. The monotony is broken by the appearance of a mischievous talking cat at the door.

On Monday, a movie Web site announced that actor Alec Baldwin was considering playing a nosy neighbor named Alex Kulchak, a character who doesn't appear in the book. Starkey said his pursuit of movie stardom for Longleaf wasn't in vain. "It's good to get our name out," he said. "I told them to keep us in mind for future opportunities."

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