Bridget Finnegan and Mike Cleary

What do you do when you find out your boyfriend is a character in the new Clint Eastwood movie?
Make a Shrinky Dink necklace and wear it to the premiere! It really is the only sensible thing to do.

Why were we there?
My significant other, Mike Cleary was the Vice President of the US Airline Pilots Association in January of 2009. He later went on to be elected President. The newly-formed union had its first crisis when US Airways Flight 1549 landed on the Hudson River. Mike was responsible for hiding the crew for the days immediately following the splashdown. Sully went on to write a book about his life which Clint Eastwood made into the new film, Sully.

Fast forward to yesterday. Mike and I were invited to the premiere and after party for the film in NYC. No, we didn’t meet Tom Hanks. Everyone that we did meet was lovely and gracious. Mike and Aaron Eckhart chatted amiably while I gushed uncontrollably and embarrassingly all over him.

Chris Bauer was a real peach. I asked him a million questions about acting. Mike and I broke through the unwashed masses and spoke briefly with Clint Eastwood, who still looks fantastic at age 85. (No, we did not discuss politics or weird chair performance art.) Mike O’Malley apologized for being nasty in the fictional NTSB hearings but we mostly discussed UNH as he is an alum. Sadly, the actor that played Mike, Holt McCallany, was filming in Pittsburg and was not at the party.

It was great for Mike to reconnect with Sully and Jeff Skiles. Jeff had not seen the film prior to last night. He told me that the flying scenes were accurate but felt much faster in real life than in the movie. No surprise there!

We also had the chance to speak with Clay Presley who was a passenger aboard 1549. He went on to get his pilot’s license after the incident in order to overcome his fear of flying.

The Film
As the old saying goes, “Why let facts get in the way of a good story?” The film is mostly accurate with the exception of the days immediately following the water landing. What’s the real story? Well, that’s Mike’s to tell. Trust me, it will be worth the wait.

And I did get one compliment for my necklace…from the bartender.

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood

Aaron Eckhart at the Sully Premiere

Aaron Eckhart

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson

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