WELCOME TO COLLINWOOD -THE MOVIE FILMED IN MY BACKYARD!
A little over 17 years ago a group of actors came to my neck of the woods and filmed a movie. Joe and Anthony Russo, two brothers who were raised in Cleveland and went to Case Western Reserve to begin their journey in the film industry. They got noticed by Steven Soderbergeh who wanted to produce their next film with the help of George Clooney, his producing partner.
I was born and raised in Collinwood, a neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio. Not much went down but when it did the news spread quickly.
A friend I went to grades school with, her father worked for the city. I had the inside scoop on dates, times and locations for the filming of (cue dramatic music) Welcome To Collinwood.
One of the locations was filmed on Broadway and East 55th.
You can read about the movie and its actors here.
There’s not much I can remember because it was very long ago, long before my eyebrows were tame and I cared about my appearance.
I believe I went down two or three separate times, on once occasion I had my mom write me a note and I skipped out of school a half a day. Totally worth it. She was actually very involved and had a great time as she mingled with Anthony Russo.
Along with my mother came my good friend Brett, who I cropped out of the majority of the pictures for fear of infringing on his privacy. I don’t think he would care but that was a long time ago and we have both went our separate ways.
I’ll go into who I met and what memories I have of that interaction, don’t get excited it’s not much but the pictures alone speak a thousand words and in no particular order here they are.
The picture above is Andy signing his name for me, the sheet of paper also has Gabrielle, Anthony, and Joe’s signature on it as well.
On one of the days we got to see them actually film, it was very neat and they did a raffle to have some of the neighborhood kids help with the lighting or something. I took a few pictures and you can see how the camera is on a track and how everyone around is working hard.
What was neat about this scene was that it was actually on one of the streets only a few blocks down from where I was living at the time, right smack dab in the middle of the neighborhood. Click action shots to see some of the pictures.
Here I am with Anthony
Here I am with Joe and a shot of him signing my paper.
We had went down there one day and got the autographs on the yellow paper and on our next visit to the set I brought this news clipping and had them sign it as well.
Joe and Anthony were very nice, approachable and took the time to talk on both occasions, take pictures, sign autographs and act like total gentleman.
We went down the next day, still a bit chilly and with some added rain but it didn’t stop us from getting the job done.
This time around I looked a little more presentable with my Billabong shirt and matching blue sun glasses.
Keep scrolling to see what celebrities I met next.
As the actors walked back and forth from building to building and across the street I was able to grab a few. Below is Isaiah Washington, great guy making the time to stop IN THE RAIN, take a picture and sign the back of my school release slip. 😉
We snagged Isaiah later to make sure my friend Brett got an autograph too.
Next up… George Clooney! He seemed to be the more popular actor in town and always appeared to have a crowd around him.
I got my picture with George I think after the mob of people, it was more quiet and secluded as my friend and I just waited patiently for him to pass by.
It happened quickly and as we were sitting against the building he showed up and I didn’t have my glossy head shot of him to sign for my grandma handy. However I was camera ready and chose to get the picture instead, good choice.
Not sure if it was before or after the picture but I remember looking at his neck, pointing and possibly even touching him asked if those tattoos were real, he informed me they were not. ((Giggles))
Not pictured in this blog but I have some shitty shots of George shooting hoops during breaks in filming, he literally had a black tank and blue shorts on. Pretty sure it was chilly out there but when you’re as hot as George Clooney you don’t get cold.
Next up is one of my favorites, I couldn’t find the picture of him and it was driving me crazy as I thought maybe I didn’t meet him like I thought I did. After a little more digging I found what I was looking for, fest your eyes on William H. Macy!!
What was really cool was that my friend and I just hung out by the door, we gave him his space and just watched as he (what I’m assuming was) listened to his lines from a tape recorder. Check out the newspaper page below of William, you can see his signature going across his leg on the right.
And last but not least… Sam Rockwell who we grabbed at the end of the day.
Below is his autograph on a typical piece of notebook paper.
I did get a few shots of Michael Jeter but never an autograph or one together, sadly he passed away in 2003 of natural causes after living with HIV.
There you have it folks one of the most exciting, fulfilling, successful stalks I have ever done and one of the FIRST! It’s funny looking back how easy and calm it was, I hardly remember much security as I know there was some, but it was very lax. Now you can’t even get that close and the majority of the celebrities don’t have time to hang around and chit-chat.
I appreciated it then and even more now at the opportunity to have been a part of the action, even if it was for only a couple of days for a few hours.
I want to send a LATE thank you to the city of Cleveland, The Russo Brothers and all the actors, workers, and crew who came into our town and made it memorable.
Thank you for stopping by! STALK ON!