Actors make stop in Salisbury to promote ‘Leatherheads’
By Susan Shinn and Steve Huffman
You gotta hand it to actor George Clooney.
The man’s got great timing.
When asked (by me, Susan Shinn!) about the challenges of filming on location versus the controlled environment of the studio, Clooney began his answer ó only to be drowned out by the passing train.
Clooney pretended to go on, gesturing wildly while the train rumbled by. I nodded my head and scribbled notes.
“And that about sums it up,” he said, as a room full of media shared a good laugh during Wednesday morning’s press conference at the depot.
Clooney, in town with Renée Zellweger to promote “Leatherheads,” took questions from media from all over North Carolina.
Clooney praised the Salisbury Station for its versatility.
“You can’t create places like this,” he said, gesturing around the grand lobby. “We didn’t even have to change the interior. This is a spectacular location. You couldn’t ask for anything better. It was perfect for us.”
After asking Clooney about upcoming roles for “dashing, middle-aged reporters,” David Whisnant of WBTV’s Salisbury bureau asked Clooney about the appeal of Salisbury.
Clooney and Zellweger, both natives of small towns, praised the welcome they had received from residents. Zellweger talked about eating grits for breakfast, while Clooney cited barbecue they’d eaten.
“I think it must be a prerequisite to live here to be kind and generous,” Zellweger said.
Other highlights from the press conference:
* Clooney on the town:
“You can’t replace the kind of welcome you get from people.”
* About the movie’s release date (which was moved from the fall):
Clooney blamed the delay in the movie’s release on his motorcycle accident that kept him from completing editing.
* On Darfur:
Clooney: “I hope the U.N., who I’m working with, gets stronger teeth inside this area.”
He also said he’d talked with all of the presidential candidates about the situation there.
When a reporter congratulated Clooney for his success in Darfur, he quietly replied, “It doesn’t feel very successful.”
* Clooney on the old-timey look of the depot (speaking to Zellweger):
“That’s the fun of movie making. Look out there, it still looks like 1925.”
n On the best bars in the area:
“I don’t drink,” Clooney said. “Drinking is wrong. Just don’t drink, kids.”
* Zellweger on Clooney’s work ethic:
“You still haven’t stopped working.”
Clooney: “I’m editing with my feet right now.”
* Clooney on filming a football movie when he’s in his mid-40s:
“I’m reminded of the first day when I got hit by a 21-year-old Clemson player. We changed some of the rules, like, ‘Don’t hit the director.’ ”
* On directing and starring in the movie:
“Acting was fairly easy in the sense that I knew what the director wanted,” Clooney said. “Then you surround yourself with wonderful actors.”
* On their favorite scene:
Clooney to Zellweger: “Go ahead, tell how much you liked the kissing scene.”
Zellweger: “Was there a kissing scene?”
Zellweger added that she came on set even when she wasn’t due to watch the football scenes. Those were her favorite scenes, she said.
* On those muddy football scenes:
Clooney said that while the football scenes may have looked fun to shoot, it was actually pretty miserable in the mud.
“BECAUSE IT WAS COLDER THAN IT SHOULD BE HERE,” he said, emphasizing each word.
* Clooney on a nearby mannequin wearing the football uniform from the movie:
“I have a lot of problems with that mannequin who I’m not quite sure is a man.”
* Clooney on possible awards for “Leatherheads”:
“There’s a huge whisper campaign for us. Our guys were just whispering it this morning.”
* Clooney on returning to Salisbury:
“Leatherheads II, Another Leatherhead.”
Contact Susan Shinn at 704-797-4289 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or email@example.com.