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John C. Reilly certainly did. "I do a lot of stage work and have been in a lot of theaters," he said. "But there is something special about the Fitzgerald. The first time I stepped on that stage, there was a palpable sense of creative energy."
It was the second-best thing about working in Minnesota, he said. So what was No. 1?
"No one beeps their horn here," he said. "You can be sitting at a red light that turns green three times, and no one will beep their horn at you."
The movie, which opens nationwide June 9, includes radio show regulars Tim Russell, Sue Scott, Jearlyn Steele, Tom Keith, Prudence Johnson and Robin and Linda Williams.
They didn't need to worry about holding their own opposite the Hollywood pros, Streep said. "We were the ones horning in on their territory," she said. "They are the real things. We were just pretending."
Keillor plays himself and came away with a newfound appreciation for acting. "It's painful to look at yourself," he said. He pointed to Altman and intoned in perfect Scandinavian deadpan: "But he did pretty good. It could have been worse."
A couple of the actors expressed reservations about the screening, noting that the movie was going to be scrutinized by Keillor's devoted fans.
"They all want to see what Hollywood has done to their radio show," Streep said.
Regardless of how the movie fares at the box office, the memories of making it will be pleasant.
Said Keillor: "I don't expect to have that much fun again anytime soon."