November 20, 1990: Scotland County and neighboring Hoke and Richmond counties are excited about movie stars in our midst. The movie “Billy Bathgate” is being filmed in Hamlet, and several of the stars are staying in Laurinburg. Right many of our acquaintances are being paid for bit parts in the movie. Tom Cruise shopped in Harris Teeter last week and when I went in yesterday, the clerks were still all agog. A Laurinburg Exchange headline read, “I MET TOM CRUISE!” The two young female clerks were pictured. “I started to cry,” said one, “because I love him to death.” They noted everything he bought, even White Cloud toilet tissue. Another dropped the stack of toothbrushes she was putting on a shelf, and he helped her pick them up. The 18-year-old described him as wearing a brown leather jacket, brown boots, and black Levi jeans “with a button-down fly.” Nicole Kidman, one of the stars, is staying with Cruise’s sister in a Laurinburg motel. Dustin Hoffman has also been very friendly and nice to Laurinburg residents. I guess Tes and I ought to visit the set in Hamlet.
I read the book – an interesting Southern novel. Toward the end I began to wonder if it were a kid’s fantasy – an imaginary life that helped him escape an impossible environment and finally let him to a successful adulthood. It has a sort of Ann Tyler/Flannery O’Connor appeal in spite of all the horrors.