Robert De Niro learned how to play a sheriff with advice from this Muscogee County deputy

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When movie star Robert De Niro wanted to know how to hold his gun, while playing a Georgia sheriff, he asked Joe McCrea.

And when Robert De Niro wanted to know how to say his lines, as a Georgia sheriff, he listened to Joe McCrea say them.

And when Joe McCrea’s three days of acting as a law enforcement consultant on the movie set of “Wash Me In The River” were over, Robert De Niro asked him to stay on, for 12 more days.

It was a heady gig for McCrea, 63, a 34-year veteran of the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office, and it got him into the movie, eventually.

In his role as a consultant, McCrea told director Randall Emmett and his crew how sheriffs and their deputies act, in their official capacity: How do they secure crime scenes? How do they search a building? Where do they put the crime scene tape when they find a body?

McCrea’s part in this production began last October, when Emmett called the sheriff’s office.

Emmett had called another law enforcement agency, but no one called him back. So he called the sheriff’s office, where worker Carol Foster heard what he wanted, and cast it to McCrea.

Soon Randall and five associates were visiting McCrea in Columbus.

“We met for a couple of hours one day, and we went over the script, talked about different ideas and language, and whether it fit a Southern theme,” McCrea recalled. “At the conclusion of the meeting, he offered to sign me to a consulting contract, from a law enforcement perspective.”

McCrea would be the fact-checker on the set. See more here.

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