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Woody Harrelson charms Woodbury

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Shalene Kennedy welcomed a new neighbor for a day, when Woody Harrelson came to town.

He also came to Callie Kiedrowski’s soccer practice. 

On a quiet back street, Parkers Drive, in Woodbury sat three large semi-trailers viewed by a small crowd of neighbors. On July 15, the crowd was waiting for Laura Dern, Judy Greer, Cheryl Hines and the rest of the cast and crew of the movie “Wilson” — especially Harrelson — to return from a late lunch. 

Base camp was set up at nearby East Ridge High School, a funky-colored tour bus with bicycles parked out front. In a half-full parking lot, the House of Hunger food truck stood out. And bright yellow signs noting “Pippi” directed workers to and from the neighborhood set.

Marsh Creek residents said Harrelson made several short public appearances along Parkers Drive, filmed along Marsh Creek Road, and was seen shooting up and down Ashford Road. 

Crowds were asked not to take pictures, but Harrelson waved and posed during his down time.

Kennedy and her family walked three doors down to watch some of the filming. They waved to Harrelson, and he came over, took pictures with the boys and her, and Kennedy and Harrelson had a short talk about being vegan. He high fived her when she told him she’s a child psychiatrist who tends to recommend alternatives to medication. 

“He’s a good man,” said Kennedy, whose been a fan of Harrelson since the “Cheers” days. “It was unreal.”

Producers had visited with other residents, inquiring about using their backyards for filming. Neighbors then heard through the grapevine and, obviously, saw the trucks on the day of the filming.

Later that day Harrelson, a soccer fan, rode a vintage bicycle from the East Ridge parking lot to a nearby field and was kicking around a soccer ball on the sidelines before being recognized, said Mike Kiedrowski, whose 13-year-old daughter, Callie, met Harrelson at her practice. Harrelson just wanted to watch the girls play.

“He spent a lot of time talking with the girls and signing shirts and balls,” Kiedrowski said. “They all knew him only from ‘The Hunger Games.’”

Players and their parents reported encounters with Harrelson, who demonstrated crossover moves and wished one youth team well on its way to the state tournament.

“Wilson” crews have been shooting locally for a few weeks and they have a few weeks left, filming at 50 locations throughout the Twin Cities, including in Woodbury and the Washington County jail. 

Harrelson’s filmography includes roles in “North Country” and “A Prairie Home Companion,” which also were filmed in Minnesota.

Some of those who met Harrelson said they were hoping he’d return to Woodbury again before departing the state next month.