George Clooney has been shooting his political thriller, "Ides of March" in ann Arbor for the past several days. As both director and lead, he has every right to feel harassed and stressed. He might be excused for being less than gracious to a few hundred unpaid extras in a crowd scene.Â But, by all accounts, he was gracious, welcoming and funny.
The movie is a behind the scenes look at a presidential primary campaign in Ohio, and Clooney plays Governor Mike Morris, a presidential candidate.Â Talia Akiva, a nine-year-old Ann Arbor native plays his daughter.Â Ann Arbor is standing in for several college towns and locations.Â He called for several hundred extras, unpaid, to film a crowd scene.Â There were plenty of University of Michigan students, but more adults were needed.Â No problem... a few newspaper contacts, a couple of stories, and he had 700 people, students and 'civilians,' in short order.
One extra, a freelance reporter by the name of Angela Smith, wrote about her experience.Â As a director, Mr. Clooney addressed the extras as a group, bringing cheers as he showed up, and relaxing them with a self-deprecating jokes and 'light banter' as the shoot went forward.Â He won her approval as the day wore on.Â The cast and crew are described as "personable and friendly."Â In a radio interview, she described him as "nice" and "fun."
George Clooney apparently lives up to his name as a good actor to work with, and enjoyable to be around.Â It is to be hoped that the Michigan Legislature has the good sense to give the film industry tax breaks a bit longer than a bit less than two years to prove themselves.Â We need more George Clooneys and Clint Eastwoods in our midst in Michigan.Â Aside from apparently being nice people, they bring money, jobs and publicity to Michigan