GLOUCESTER, Mass. (AP) -- Just months out of his surgical scrubs, actor George Clooney is donning fishing garb and sailing some rough seas.
The former star of the hit show "ER" is starting to film "The Perfect Storm," which details the last voyage of the Andrea Gail, a doomed fishing boat, brought down by a brutal storm.
Clooney said Tuesday the story was a poignant and important one.
"They're real people, they're real families involved," he told reporters at an afternoon press conference attended by other cast members, Gov. Paul Cellucci and other state officials.
The film is drawn from the book "The Perfect Storm," in which author Sebastian Junger details the tragic demise of the crew of the Andrea Gail.
Junger uses narrative infused with bits of science, history and meteorology to tell the story of the Gloucester-based boat and its crew, which vanished without a trace in October 1991.
In the film Clooney plays Captain Billy Tyne. The movie, directed by Wolfgang Peterson, also stars Mark Wahlberg and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, who plays Linda Greenlaw, the world's only female captain of a swordfish boat. Greenlaw's boat was the Hannah Boden, the sister vessel to the Andrea Gail.
Clooney also said that he's been preparing for the part by going fishing with co-star Wahlberg in this picturesque seaside community 27 miles north of Boston.
"Mark didn't catch a big fish," Clooney joked.
Also on Tuesday, Peterson presented Junger with a $25,000 check for The Perfect Storm Foundation, which provides scholarships for the children of commercial fishermen.
The film was scheduled to start shooting today in Gloucester for three weeks.