Local officials plan for visit from Clooney, Zellweger
By Shavonne Potts
Local authorities are getting ready for the fans expected when Hollywood stars George Clooney and Renee Zellweger return to Salisbury on Wednesday.
Clooney and Zellweger will be in town in advance of “Leatherheads,” a football comedy filmed partly at locations in Salisbury and Spencer.
It’s part of what movie promoters are calling a “whistle-stop tour” of places where the movie was filmed and other locales. The local stop will be at Salisbury Station, 215 Depot St., at 11 a.m. and is open to the public.
Salisbury Police Lt. Melonie Thompson, head of special operations for the department, organized a security plan for the day’s event.
Thompson said there will be around seven uniformed officers stationed near the depot at Robertson Eastern Gateway Park.
The public can park on side streets and the city’s lot near the police station, across from the depot.
The best place to get a glimpse of Clooney and Zellweger will be to the left of the depot near the parking area, Thompson said. The actors will get off a train near that area, she added.
Fans “won’t be allowed at the back of the depot,” she said.
Barricades will block the areas that are not open to the public.
A press conference will take place inside the depot and 70 to 80 media outlets are expected to attend.
Thompson said she’s not entirely sure how many people to expect at the event.
“It will depend on Charlotte. We are not expecting large numbers especially because of the time of day,” she said.
About 50 percent of the movie was shot in the Charlotte region. Locally, parts were filmed at Historic Salisbury Foundation’s depot and at the N.C. Transportation Museum at Spencer Shops.
Thompson said local officials have been planning for this return trip for about two weeks.
She met with studio personnel to do a walk through. They’ll do one more walk through before the event.
Jack Thomson, Historic Salisbury Foundation’s director, said folks in his organization are excited about the event.
“We’re thrilled that they’re coming back,” he said of Clooney and Zellweger.
The Foundation expects a large crowd Wednesday, but Thomson said he feels good about the preparations.
“We are really working with Universal Studios and the Salisbury Police Department to make sure the crowds and media stay safe,” Thomson said. “We feel pretty comfortable.”
Thomson reminded local residents that the depot wouldn’t have attracted the filmmakers if not “for all the people who supported the Historic Salisbury Foundation throughout the years for preservation and restoration.”
A romantic comedy set in the 1920s, the film will be in theaters April 4.
Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253 or email@example.com.