Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How I Met George Clooney-- Since you asked!

If you saw the recently Oscar-nominated movie, Up in the Air, you might have heard that it was filmed right here in St. Louis! A wedding reception scene was shot in a tudor-style motel called the Cheshire Inn, which is right across the street from the church I serve. During their 3 days of filming at this site, they needed a place to serve two meals a day to the 150 members of the crew. St. Mark's Lutheran Church gladly opened it's doors for the crew to eat in the fellowship hall.

It was quite an experience. The catering company was from Los Angeles and specifically catered to movie crews. There was a kitchen in the back of the semi truck and a refrigerator in the back of another truck. They transformed our church basement into a high class buffet and invited us to dine when the crew was done! They were the sweetest people and the food was amazing. We were ready to follow them around St. Louis.

The first day the crew arrived, George Clooney came to lunch and got in line for lunch like everyone else. I donned my suit and clerical collar that day, and was welcoming people to our building and saying how happy we were to have them there. As soon as Mr. Clooney was off his cell phone, I walked right up, introduced myself, shook his hand and chatted with him for a minute. He was very kind. Then I asked if he would take a picture with me and after a slight hesitation, he said, "sure." He gave the camera to his friend and posed for the picture. The church calendar on the wall shows in the background. I thanked him and said, "Oh, I'm getting you right before you've eaten," as he reached for his tray and silverware. He said, "Well, it's better than after I've eaten and I've got food in my teeth." He was funny, too! I left him alone then, so he didn't think I was a weird stalker person.

That was the only day out of the three that he ate there--the caterer said he often takes his limo other places. The church members thought I scared him away and ruined their chances of getting their picture with him. Maybe so. But after having cancer, I have learned to seize the moment! I have also learned that little things mean a lot. I am not one to go gaga over stars--this one or any others, but he was stunningly good looking and it was really fun to meet him in person. It meant nothing to Mr. Clooney--a lunchtime inconvenience. But it was a bright spot after a really difficult time for me-- a little thing that lifted my spirits and gave me a moment of happiness after a year of hardship.

We don't know when we can do a little thing that means a lot for someone else. My chance came the last day the crew was there and I talked with one of them at length. I found out his wife was in treatment for cancer and we were able to spend time talking about it over his dinner break before he went back to work. I was able to give him my card, offered to have her call me or have him call if he needed more support while working away from home. Even if they never called, he knew he wasn't alone in St. Louis--not everything was up in air.

1 comment:

  1. What a great story. I met Julia Roberts when she was filming "My Best Friend's Wedding" at the church I then attended (Fourth Pres in Chicago). Well, "met" is too strong a word; I was walking down the hall on my way to a committee meeting, carrying my infant daughter (wouldn't take a bottle, attached to me like a barnacle for a year), when we passed Ms. Roberts on her way to the sanctuary. "What is this, baby day on 'My Best Friend's Wedding? Hiya, cutie!" she said, as she reached out and rubbed the top of my daughter's head.

    Like your meeting with Mr. Clooney, it was a bright moment at a challenging time in my life.