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Thursday, 20 July, 2000, 23:10 GMT 00:10 UK
Clooney hits Birmingham
Mark Wahlberg and George Clooney
Mark Wahlberg and George Clooney at the premiere
Hollywood heart-throb George Clooney picked an unusual location for Thursday's UK premiere of his new film The Perfect Storm - Gravelly Hill in Birmingham.

Clooney arrived with co-star Mark Wahlberg for the screening at the newly-opened 5,800-seat Star City megaplex, in the shadow of the M6's infamous Spaghetti Junction.

Asked for his initial impressions of Birmingham, Clooney told reporters: "I have only been here 15 minutes."

But the actor, speaking against a backdrop of gasometers and electricity pylons, proved to be a master at diplomacy, saying: "The weather is so nice here - it's beautiful."

Dressed in a grey suit and casual shirt, Clooney spent 25 minutes signing autographs for 400 delighted fans, whom he described as "his family".

The weather is so nice here - it's beautiful

George Clooney on Birmingham

Julia Francis, 26, who travelled from Handsworth, Birmingham, to see the stars, said: "We don't often see this - the big stars just don't come to Birmingham.

"Some people didn't believe they were coming, but they were so nice. They made you feel like you were the only one here and it's nice that they can take time out of their hectic schedule."

Earlier, Clooney revealed that filming The Perfect Storm, a nautical drama, was anything but plain sailing for his co-star Mark Wahlberg.

Boogie Nights star Wahlberg became so ill while shooting scenes on a fishing boat he had to keep taking breaks between lines to vomit.

But Clooney admitted stirring the situation by laughing at his plight - and adding extra lines so scenes took longer to record.

Speaking at the film's London launch, Clooney said: "Only one of us, and it wasn't me, got seasickness - but he said he had just had some bad sushi."

See also:

01 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Hollywood's patriotic battle
03 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Clooney wins box office fight
07 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Clooney's live drama landmark
21 Jul 00 | UK
Hollywood in the heartland
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