INT: George Clooney
Every now and again, my willpower will be tested at one of these press junkets. This was one of those times! I think many women would agree that having a hunky piece of manmeat like George Clooney so close in proximity is as cruel as waving a piece of candy in front of a child. Aside from the fact that he has regained the title of Sexiest Man Alive, he is a multiple award winning, multi-talented actor partnering again with Soderbergh in his upcoming film, THE GOOD GERMAN.
made a transition from television to an A-list Hollywood actor,
producer, executive producer and director, some of Clooneys
previous credits include OCEAN'S ELEVEN and TWELVE, SYRIANA, GOOD
NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK and OUT OF SIGHT.
In THE GOOD GERMAN, he plays a
I had the great pleasure of meeting the super hot Clooney last week when he sat down to talk about making a different kind of film, the Oceans franchise, the evolution of his career and on working with Soderbergh. Check out what the charismatic star of THE GOOD GERMAN had to say.
Your back is hurt, is it the same thing that happened before?
Yeah, same thing as before. It gets better and it gets worse. Its not so bad. With a brace its fine. Drink a little, a little Limoncello. (Laughs.) Unbelievable.
Do you feel pain every day?
Its been bad for a couple of days, but it gets better.
Any more surgery?
No, no, no with surgery. Done with surgery. No more of that. Stop that.
Are you always this excited about with Steven?
We love working together. This is one we developed. We optioned the book and developed the script and there is that awful moment where we have to sit Alan Horn and Jeff Robinov down at Warner Bros. and tell them its black and white. They are really thrilled about that as you can imagine. But, no, every time I get a chance to work with him Im happy. Ive never had a bad experience with him.
you have gotten to live out the golden age of
in a way you do. Heres the good news or the fun news for me
was that for the past few years, weve been able to push and do
what we wanted to do. And you know as well as I do that that
doesnt last forever, so you try and do things that no one is
encouraging you to do. There is nobody at the studio going,
Please make a black and white film about the
How would you say your relationship has changed over the past few movies?
I wouldnt say that it really has. I was a fan and stole ideas from him on Out of Sight. And Im a fan and I steal ideas from him now. Over the years weve become very good friends as well and thats an important part of it, that weve been able to spend a lot of time together and that we like each other a lot. But, I dont get that its really changed. I just get the sense that I think the most of him as a director. Ive been lucky between he and the Coen brothers. Ive got a couple of people that I really enjoy working with who I also think play at the top of the game.
Do you have a particular affinity for the era of the 40s and 50s?
Maybe. I mean, my favorite time, in American cinema especially, is the mid 60s to the mid 70s. I just think thats if you look at the films that came out of that generation or that period of time. All those nuts. Its just some amazing films. But, there is an awfully good era I mean, we were looking at you know Steven sent us films to look at for this film. Just to talk about things. Some of them I had seen before. Mildred Pierce I had seen. I liked John Garfield and the idea of John Garfield. I thought that was sort of an interesting guy to think about. And there was a Mitchum film called Out Of The Past, which I had never seen which was phenomenal. Im really a fan of that kind of stuff.
off in TV and then to the big
Well, you hope youre pushing things and growing. Usually, cause you know I write and direct and produce. And as a writer or director or producer I can look at things a little more objectively then you can as an actor. So I can look at things that I wouldnt cast myself in and go, Ah, there are guys who could do that better than me. So, I think one of the secrets as an actor is understanding your limitations and then trying to push things every time and do things differently. And trying to grow, but not trying to think there is something wrong with it.
Are there days when you dont take acting as seriously anymore?
No, not yet. But, youre right, itll happen. If I get a chance to act with Steven or Joel or Ethan I did this film with Tony Gilroy coming out who did a wonderful job. If youre given a good script, there is nothing more about it, to be an actor in that. Thats exciting. Working with Cate. There isnt a moment thats boring. On this film, this is as hard as anything Ive ever done as an actor because its a completely different style and you have to commit to it. You just cant stand outside and wink. You have to sort of lay in and be overly dramatic and painfully direct and not penalize things. Thats really hard to do. To try and find a level that makes it believable. So, no, not yet, but Im also working with directors I really love. If I get to that point, Ill much rather direct. I like directing better.
How was winning an Oscar affected your career?
Its changed everything. Im much taller. (Laughs.) You know its a funny thing. Its one of those interesting things, because its a nice thing and it always makes you feel you know but it makes absolutely no difference. Its nice. You sit down with the studio and you tell them you want to make a film. Even if you carried it and set it down on the table. It just doesnt matter. They really dont care. Theyre happy for you, Thats great. Great George. But it doesnt really make a difference in my day-to-day life of getting things done. My friends will come over and pick it up and go, Man, thats heavy. Its a nice thing.
How often do you need to mix the commercial movies in with the independent projects to make it all work?
We have to do them. You know Clints the god. He sort of understood exactly how to do it. We have an office exactly right next-door, literally right next-door and Ive seen him for ten years. Seen him every day. He gave a great pattern on how to do it and a smart way of doing it, which is you make one that does well commercially and it buys you two smaller ones along the way. And that seems to be what weve been able to continually do it with Warner Brothers.
So, you wouldnt do another Oceans movie to get smaller movies made?
No, well, this one happened because we felt like we could do it better than Twelve. We didnt want to go out getting socked in the chin on that one. We were both like, We know how to do this. And we found a really good reason to do it, which is revenge. Which is always better than just money. That made sense to us and we went, Thats a good reason and thats the only reason to come back. I think, listen, Rocky 17? Who knows? Maybe ten years from now Ill need a job and Ill think about it. But right now, we dont plan on it.
Do DVDs help you make money on those small ones now?
I think most of the time you lose money because it costs so much in the prints and ads. You know Good Night And Good Luck is the best example. We paid less than any other film that was in our category in terms of prints and ads out there. It cost $7 million to make the film and it was probably $25 million in ads. Which is a lot of money. So, suddenly, you have a $32 million for a $7 million film and we were the low point of those guys. Ultimately they did make their money back. We made $35 million or something here and probably about that overseas, so basically youre breaking even and then they make money on DVD, but that doesnt happen very often. Its a very interesting business. The DVD is where the money is.
Are you more forgiving when working with a first time director like Tony?
I didnt have to be forgiving with Tony. He really, really, really knew what he was doing. Sometimes you get with a director who is basically a first time director and they need a lot of handholding. I had one last year where there was a lot of work to be done. Tony is a grown-up. He knew what he wanted to shoot, he had plans. The biggest thing with a first time director is do they shoot with a point of view? Steven shoots with a point of view. Joel and Ethan shoot with a point of view. Thats the secret. You dont want to just collect footage and get in an editing room and make a film, thats the difference.
difficult was it shooting Michael Clayton in
always trickier shooting in
You came out with a great plan to fake-out the tabloids by dating a different star every night.
Well, I was just kidding on the Vanity Fair article. I saw Leonardo DiCaprio yesterday, and I said, Sorry, I made a joke.
I was wondering why we didnt see you with a different person every day?
Look, because I was actually joking, and I actually do have to work, you know? I have a job and Im busy, so I didnt really mean it. I just thought it would be a funny thing, cause eventually, theyd keep running the story until they believed nothing. But I dont really have the time to do that.
What led to the decision to shut down Section 8?
We decided that when we started it. Steven and I had a conversation about it two years before we shut it down. We decided it. We had seen all the other companies do this, which is about five years in, you stop being filmmakers and you start being administrators and businessmen, and we didnt want to do that. Exactly what we thought would happen was happening. Wed start to have more meetings on ad campaigns and posters and trailers then actually making the film, and that was no fun for us. We were very clear about it. We tried not to screw with anyone along the way, so we said, two years from today were done and we did it and were very pleased with how that worked.
And now you have a new production company?
Mm-hm. We started over, reset and start over and try again.
Whats going to be the difference?
Well, Grant [Heslov] and I have the same theories, which is you try to protect filmmakers; you try to get screenplays made that people didnt want to make. All the same things. Were having some luck. We just got the Grisham book and were having a really interesting time with some really interesting projects.
Talk about the shifting point of view of the film. Do you think your character is elemental?
I really love the idea of changing the point of view, literally changing the lens, cause I thought the minute you started seeing the narrative change, you were like Oh, this is really quite a way of telling a story. I was really excited by the idea of it. Also because in general, a 40s film like this is told by the male in it, and I really liked watching and it really throws you because you think its about Tobey Maguire and then, it aint. I remember the first time I saw Alien, when I went to the movie theatre in 1979, and you thought Tom Skerritt was going to be the star, because theres always been the guy sort of surviving, and he was the handsome guy. And he bites it first and all of a sudden, you realize its Sigourney Weaver, and youre really taken by the idea that point of view gets shifted a little bit, and I think that thats really interesting storytelling.
Is there something different that you are interested in exploring on film that you havent yet?
There are a few things. Theres a screenplay Im working on now that I want to explore. The movie Im directing right now is a football film from 1925 thats been about 10-12 years of us trying to get this thing made. I finally figured the key to it out this summer and finished writing it. Were going to start shooting it in about a month, so that was one that I just wanted to get done, it was making me crazy. Also because I didnt want to do a political film next cause after Syriana and Good Night and Good Luck, I got offered thirty different political all of a sudden, everybody wants to do a political film and I didnt really want to do that. I didnt want to become that guy. But then I have an interesting idea about elections that I might want to do after that.
Do you think you are taking some risks making the third Oceans?
Yeah, its a very different version of that. Its back to 11 in terms of spending more time with the guys, but its about revenge, which I think is just such a good motivator after youve had these guys make a lot of money. What are you going to do? Lets make some more money? So this one is about just getting someone who wasnt one of our guys, and I just love films like that.
I got psyched to hear that youre doing White Jazz with Joe Carnahan.
Its such a good screenplay.
What was it that drew you to the screenplay?
I hadnt read the book. Joes brother Matt wrote a version of the screenplay that was just and its dirty, nasty, mean. Theres nothing nice about it, and Joes a great director and should be doing it more, because I worry about really good directors not directing enough. Its like I want Quentin [Tarantino] to direct more. I know he has to take time off to do his thing. I want to see him, you know? I feel that way about Joe. I want to see him do more films and this is a really good screenplay.
Dont you see Good German as a political film?
to screw up an occupation? (laughs) But I dont know if
theres a comparison between now and the idea of sort of forgiving
war crimes because thats not really what were doing
particularly right now in
So which is better, the Oscars or Sexiest Man Alive?
I have to say Sexiest is big. I got to say, its a big one, I use it. Brad is upset, but theres still a time for him, hes a couple years younger, so he still has a shot. I think Matt was the most hurt. It hurt Matt. We did campaign for him but he just didnt
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