Clawson is abuzz with Hollywood fever today as movie stars George Clooney, Ryan Gosling and Evan Rachel Wood and crew arrived in town to film scenes for their new film, The Ides of March.
Crowds gathered outside Nick's Country Oven and the Oak Professional Center on 14 Mile Road east of Crooks as film crews and trailers set up and word spread about Clooney being in town and scenes being shot at those Clawson locations. Film crews will be out until about 11 p.m., and spectators will be able to watch filming from the sidewalks.
"I think it's wonderful," said Judith Ellison of Clawson, who was out this morning watching the crews set up equipment. "We never see this (in Clawson)."
The Ides of March is a political drama about a presidential campaign starring Clooney as Gov. Mike Morris; Gosling as Stephen Meyers; and Marisa Tomei as Ida Horowicz. Clooney is also the film's director.
Film crews have been shooting in the Michigan for the past two weeks and already have shot scenes in Ann Arbor and Detroit. Location manager Dave Krieger said they chose Clawson because it's similar to suburban Cincinnati, which is where the scenes in the movie take place.
"Clawson has been incredibly helpful ... very accommodating," said Krieger, who owns Detroit-based Krieger Photography.
Krieger said they decided to shoot in Michigan because of the state's film tax credits program. However, he said this likely will be the last movie they shoot in Clawson because of Gov. Rick Snyder's plan to cap the Michigan film incentives.
"It's important for people to realize that we bring money to the the communities we film in," Krieger said. "Michigan embraces the film industry ... for the practice of being a part of something bigger."
Ellison agreed. "Rick Snyder obviously doesn't recognize the kind of advantages (films) bring to the local areas," she said.
Nika Gojcaj, owner of Nick's Country Oven, said the film company rented his restaurant for the day, and he closed it to the public. Crews set up new signs outside his restaurant for filming purposes. "This is very nice," Gojcaj said as he stood outside his restaurant where a crowd had gathered to watch film crews.
Clawson resident Debbie Hoffman said she was eager all day at work to get out and see George Clooney on the movie set. “It’s so exciting to have Hollywood come to Clawson,” Hoffman said. “It just confirms the fact that I love Clawson.”
Betty Randall, of Royal Oak, said she is a fan of Clooney’s and was happy to see him in a small town like Clawson. “I think he’s always been a good actor and he’s never had a bad background in his movies,” Randall said.
Mayor Penny Luebs said she is pleased Clawson was chosen for a movie scene filming. "It's another validation that Clawson is a small city with a hometown feel," Luebs said.
At least one lane of 14 Mile was blocked off during afternoon between Crooks and Main Street for the filming.