by Steve Neavling, published on September 3, 2008|
AJs Café in Ferndale was the scene of stargazing today as cast and crew members of Drew Barrymores forthcoming directorial debut, Whip it!," strolled in for drinks and a relaxing break on a shaded patio outside the coffee shop.
Ellen Page, the breakout starlet of the 2007 Oscar-winning film Juno, was the first to arrive this morning, ordering two grapefruit sodas and an iced espresso drink.
I love this area, said a soft-spoken Page, wearing a black-and-tan plaid skirt and black-rimmed glasses. I love Detroit. Its an intense place.
For the past month, Barrymore has been directing a cast that includes Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Eve and Juliette Lewis in "Whip It!," which is set in the world of competitive roller derby. They've filmed scenes in downtown Detroit, Ypsilanti and other spots.
On Wednesday, Page, who plays an indie-rock misfit, was joined by crew members at a table at AJ's to sip on drinks. They returned throughout the afternoon and said they planned to hang around the coffee shop, 240 W. 9 Mile, all day.
Barrymore paced outside the café in a blue T-shirt and jeans, chatting on a cell phone.
The shoot ends at 9 p.m., after which some of them said they plan to return to AJs Café to participate in Open Mic Night, an event that allows musicians and poets to show off their talents on stage. The free event is from 8-11 p.m.
A.J. ONeil, owner of the coffee shop, was ecstatic to see the stars and stuck around after his morning shift to catch a peak.
I was thrilled, said ONeil, who urged cast and crew members to try his new wafflich, a concoction of egg, cheese and meat or seitan on toasted waffles. It was very humbling. Were very fortunate to have them in our neighborhood. It doesnt happen every day.