Sure, movie fans in the region are excited about Wednesday.
That’s when actors George Clooney and Renee Zellweger roll into the historic Salisbury Station as a part of a whistle stop tour planned as a thank-you for communities, including Salisbury and Spencer, that provided locations for the upcoming film, “Leatherheads.”
But officials with Historic Salisbury Foundation are just as pumped up to be the host for the 11 a.m. Wednesday visit, open to the public.
The foundation-owned depot, built in 1908, was a backdrop for some of the movie scenes.
“George Clooney and company were able to select the depot as a film location because the foundation, with the support of the community, had the foresight to save the landmark building,” Foundation Director Jack Thomson said.
“This is one of the strongest economic cases for historic preservation I have ever seen.”
Foundation President Bud Mickle echoed the sentiment.
“I think I can speak for the board of trustees by saying that we are very pleased that George Clooney and Renee Zellweger are returning to Historic Salisbury,” Mickle said.
“This is great exposure for both the N.C. Transportation Museum and the Salisbury Station, which celebrates its centennial anniversary this year. This type of recognition has got to be good for our community and our tourism industry.”
Plans for the actors’ visit have been under way for some time, but Thomson said secrecy was crucial.
“This is a Universal Studios event, and along the way, they made it very clear to us that the planning had to be below the radar for the whistle stop tour to be effective,” Thomson said.
“We felt it important to honor their wishes, and we are honored that they have decided to return.”
Mickle said the foundation is expecting a large turnout from Salisbury, Rowan County and the entire region.
The foundation officials say the event is great for strengthening the historic preservation movement, including the sale and restoration of important historic real estate in the area.
The production company said it was “very pleased with the experience and could envision a return to our area for another film project,” Thomson said.
Historic Salisbury Foundation has saved and protected more than 90 historic structures throughout the city over the last 30 years.
The foundation owns and operates the Historic Salisbury Railroad Station, Dr. Josephus Hall House and Grimes Mill, all landmark structures for Salisbury and hosts the OctoberTour of Historic Homes each fall.
The foundation’s Web site is www.historicsalisbury.org.