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    George Clooney, Brad Pitt star in movie featuring Derby Lane


    © St. Petersburg Times, published January 27, 2001

    ST. PETERSBURG -- Warner Bros.' action-comedy Ocean's Eleven starring George Clooney will spend two days next month filming at Derby Lane, St. Petersburg/Clearwater film commissioner Jennifer Parramore said Friday.

    Details are still being ironed out, but Parramore said it's likely that Clooney and at least one co-star will film scenes at the 76-year-old dog racing track in late February, "around the 20th or 22nd."

    Parramore said 2,800 local residents hired as extras also will perform for the cameras. Eight hundred people will be paid scale wages for close-up parts and 2,000 more unpaid extras will be used for crowd scenes.

    "We'll be announcing next week the times and places for huge auditions for extras," Parramore said. Auditions are scheduled on Feb. 10.

    Parramore said a special telephone information line about the project will be announced and go into service next week.

    The movie is being filmed by director Steven Soderbergh, currently riding the momentum of two Golden Globe-winning films, Traffic and Erin Brockovich.

    Clooney also won a Golden Globe last weekend as best comedy or musical actor for his performance in O Brother, Where Art Thou? His co-stars for Ocean's Eleven include Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Alan Arkin and Don Cheadle. Roberts also won a Golden Globe last weekend for her starring role in Erin Brockovich.

    Ocean's Eleven is based on a popular 1960 Rat Pack caper starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. as Army buddies trying to rob several Las Vegas casinos in a single night. Clooney will play Sinatra's role, ringleader Danny Ocean.

    Parramore said scenes to be filmed at Derby Lane involve Clooney's character visiting a former crony to persuade him to join the scheme.

    "The sequence of events to be filmed here is probably a short time period in the movie," she said.

    This marks Derby Lane's second role as a location for a major Hollywood production. In 1990, Morgan Creek Productions filmed scenes for the comedy Coupe De Ville, coincidentally starring Arkin.

    The nationwide release date for Ocean's Eleven is currently set for Dec. 7.

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