Damn that George Clooney. After months of avoiding my lens at different Leatherheads shoot, today he and his crew popped up in plain view at War Memorial Stadium in Greensboro. Problem was, I had very little time for the Sexiest Man Alive. Why? It’s Sweeps, baby. Instead of traipsing around the Piedmont with the soft news assignment of the day in my pocket, I’ve been teaming up with our hard-nose reporter staff for an endless series of lead stories and live shots. Ugh. I’d much rather go solo and turn the kinds of stories that stick with viewers far longer than the breathless babble that makes up the front of your average newscast. What kinds of stories are those? The ones built on striking visuals … like, say, a gaggle of grandmothers swooning every time a globally known actor tears himself away from chatting up starlets long enough to graze on a few munchies at the craft services table.
That was exactly the scene unfolding this morning as reporter Angela Rodriguez and I rolled up on Greensboro’s crumbling showpiece of a historic baseball stadium. That’s where Clooney and crew were shooting scenes for his upcoming movie about the birth of pro football. The palette was staggering. Extras dressed in ‘20‘s garb, Model T’s sputtering in the mist, film crew hippies fiddling with lighting rigs, local cops corralling a horde of hyperventilating housewives and smack dab in the middle of it all, Clooney himself - loitering, laughing and sending shockwaves through the crowd with his every glistening dimple. A one-eyed hobo with a broken surveillance camera could have made award winning TV out of that scenario. But all I could do was spray the place - for A-Rod and I were soon due elsewhere downtown to shoot a story so boring I’m almost afraid to link to it.
So did what I could. Firing up my camera, I zoomed in on the matinee idol in the distance and clocked his every tuxedoed move. Why exactly he was so dressed up I’m not really sure, but I feel certain the clutch of female fans plastered around my perch could have explained every facet of the movie in the making. But there was simply no time. All I could do was curse the weakness of my extender lens, collect a few more cutaways and confuse the hell out of newspaper reporter Tina Firesheets by calling her by name (and what a name!). Had there been more time, I would have gladly interviewed every hysterical woman that could still form words. Instead, I could only throw up in my mouth a little every time the 75 year old lady beside me screamed for Clooney to 'show that sweet bod'!!!
I hate sweeps.