That was no stranger in the Tangier Island, Va., hardware store. It was Paul Newman scouting a locale he had wanted for a movie he has in the works.

Newman traveled incognito - sporting sunglasses and a baseball cap - as he accompanied local charter boat captain Keith Ward, who had suggested the tiny Chesapeake Bay island would make a great setting for Newman's upcoming movie "Message in a Bottle."The Town Council already vetoed the idea, and Ward's buddies thought it was far-fetched.

"They said, `You know Paul Newman and Kevin Costner are never going to come,' " said Ward, who hadn't told his friends that the quiet stranger with him Thursday was Newman.

Newman asked questions about the island during the foggy ride across the bay, said Ward, who ferried him across.