George Clooney filled every seat on the main floor of the Power Center last month. He was directing a scene for his new movie, The Ides of March, in which he plays an innocent governor who learns the evil ways of presidential politics. An enthusiastic crowd pretended to be a political audience at Kent State University.

Recruited via Facebook, some extras were film regulars, but most seemed to be trying it for the first time. Both groups agreed that Clooney was more down to earth than expected. Between takes, he made appreciative comments, ribbed the Canadians on his crew, and revived the lost art of pretending to be drunk–perhaps a riff on St. Patrick’s Day.

To enforce a rule against taking pictures, the extras were ordered to put away their cell phones. Then, to keep it realistic, hundreds of fake cell phones were handed out so the crowd could pretend to take photos of the “governor.” But every time Clooney visited a new section of the auditorium, the real phones came out, for real snapshots. After six hours of sitting and less than a minute of filming, everyone was dismissed. The extras lined up for a box lunch–for most, their only payment–and the bus ride back to the parking lot.