INT: George Clooney
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 ďSexiest Man AliveĒ,
he is a multiple award winning, multi-talented actor partnering
again with Soderbergh in his upcoming film, THE
made a transition from television to an A-list Hollywood actor,
producer, executive producer and director, some of Clooneyís
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
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
Oceanís franchise, the evolution of his career and on working with
Soderbergh. Check out what the
charismatic star of THE GOOD GERMAN had to say.
back is hurt, is it the same thing that happened before?
same thing as before. It gets better and it gets worse.
Itís not so bad. With a brace itís fine. Drink a little, a
little Limoncello. (Laughs.) Unbelievable.
you feel pain every day?
been bad for a couple of days, but it gets better.
no, no with surgery. Done with surgery. No more of that. Stop
you always this excited about with Steven?
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 Iím happy. Iíve never had a bad experience with
you have gotten to live out the golden age of
in a way you do. Hereís the good news or the fun news for me
was that for the past few years, weíve been able to push and do
what we wanted to do. And you know as well as I do that that
doesnít last forever, so you try and do things that no one is
encouraging you to do. There is nobody at the studio going,
ĎPlease make a black and white film about the
would you say your relationship has changed over the past few
wouldnít say that it really has. I was a fan and stole ideas
from him on Out of Sight. And Iím a fan and I steal ideas
from him now. Over the years weíve become very good friends as
well and thatís an important part of it, that weíve been able to
spend a lot of time together and that we like each other a lot. But,
I donít get that itís really changed. I just get the sense
that I think the most of him as a director. Iíve been lucky
between he and the Coen brothers. Iíve got a couple of
people that I really enjoy working with who I also think play at the
top of the game.
you have a particular affinity for the era of the 40ís and 50ís?
I mean, my favorite time, in American cinema especially, is the mid
Ď60ís to the mid Ď70ís. I just think thatísÖ if
you look at the films that came out of that generation or that
period of time. All those nuts. Itís just some amazing
films. But, there is an awfully good eraÖI mean, we were
looking atÖyou 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. Iím really a
fan of that kind of stuff.
off in TV and then to the big
you hope youíre pushing things and growing. Usually,
Ďcause 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
wouldnít cast myself in and go, ĎAh, there are guys who could do
that better than me.í 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.
there days when you donít take acting as seriously anymore?
not yet. But, youíre right, itíll happen. If I get a
chance to act with Steven or Joel or EthanÖI did this film with
Tony Gilroy coming out who did a wonderful job. If youíre given a
good script, there is nothing more about it, to be an actor in that.
Thatís exciting. Working with Cate. There isnít a moment
thatís boring. On this film, this is as hard as anything
Iíve ever done as an actor because itís a completely different
style and you have to commit to it. You just canít stand
outside and wink. You have to sort of lay in and be overly
dramatic and painfully direct and not penalize things.
Thatís really hard to do. To try and find a level that makes
it believable. So, no, not yet, but Iím also working with
directors I really love. If I get to that point, Iíll much
rather direct. I like directing better.
was winning an Oscar affected your career?
changed everything. Iím much taller. (Laughs.) You know
itís a funny thing. Itís one of those interesting things,
because itís a nice thing and it always makes you feel you
knowÖbut it makes absolutely no difference.
Itís 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 doesnít matter. They really
donít care. Theyíre happy for you, ĎThatís great.
Great George.í But it doesnít 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, ĎMan, thatís heavy.í
Itís a nice thing.
often do you need to mix the commercial movies in with the
independent projects to make it all work?
have to do them. You know Clintís the god. He sort of
understood exactly how to do it. We have an office exactly
right next-door, literally right next-door and Iíve 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 weíve been able to
continually do it with Warner Brothers.
you wouldnít do another ďOceanísĒ movie to get smaller
well, this one happened because we felt like we could do it better
than Twelve. We didnít want to go out getting socked in the
chin on that one. We were both like, ĎWe know how to do
this.í 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, ĎThatís a good reasoní and
thatís the only reason to come back. I think, listen, ĎRocky
17í? Who knows? Maybe ten years from now Iíll need a
job and Iíll think about it. But right now, we donít plan
DVDís help you make money on those small ones now?
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 youíre breaking even and then they make money on DVD,
but that doesnít happen very often. Itís a very
interesting business. The DVD is where the money is.
you more forgiving when working with a first time director like
didnít 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. Thatís the
secret. You donít want to just collect footage and get in an
editing room and make a film, thatís the difference.
difficult was it shooting Michael Clayton in
always trickier shooting in
came out with a great plan to fake-out the tabloids by dating a
different star every night.
I was just kidding on the Vanity Fair article. I saw Leonardo
DiCaprio yesterday, and I said, ďSorry, I made a joke.Ē
was wondering why we didnít see you with a different person every
because I was actually joking, and I actually do have to work, you
know? I have a job and Iím busy, so I didnít really mean it. I
just thought it would be a funny thing, Ďcause eventually,
theyíd keep running the story until they believed nothing. But I
donít really have the time to do that.
led to the decision to shut down Section 8?
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 didnít want to
do that. Exactly what we thought would happen was happening. Weíd
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, ďtwo years from today weíre doneĒ and we did
it and weíre very pleased with how that worked.
now you have a new production company?
We started over, reset and start over and try again.
going to be the difference?
Grant [Heslov] and I have the same theories, which is you try to
protect filmmakers; you try to get screenplays made that people
didnít want to make. All the same things. Weíre having some
luck. We just got the Grisham book and weíre having a really
interesting time with some really interesting projects.
about the shifting point of view of the film.
Do you think your character is elemental?
really love the idea of changing the point of view, literally
changing the lens, Ďcause I thought the minute you started seeing
the narrative change, you were like ďOh, this is really quite a
way of telling a story.Ē I was really excited by the idea of it.
Also because in general, a 40ís film like this is told by the male
in it, and I really liked watchingÖ and it really throws you
because you think itís about Tobey Maguire and then, it ainít. I
remember the first time I saw ďAlienĒ, when I went to the movie
theatre in 1979, and you thought Tom Skerritt was going to be the
star, because thereís 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 itís Sigourney Weaver, and youíre really taken by
the idea that point of view gets shifted a little bit, and I think
that thatís really interesting storytelling.
there something different that you are interested in exploring on
film that you havenít yet?
are a few things. Thereís a screenplay Iím working on now that I
want to explore. The movie Iím directing right now is a football
film from 1925 thatís 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. Weíre 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 didnít want to do a political film next
Ďcause after Syriana and Good Night and Good Luck, I got offered
thirty different politicalÖ all of a sudden, everybody wants to do
a political film and I didnít really want to do that. I didnít
want to become that guy. But then I have an interesting idea about
elections that I might want to do after that.
you think you are taking some risks making the third Oceanís?
itís a very different version of that. Itís back to 11 in terms
of spending more time with the guys, but itís about revenge, which
I think is just such a good motivator after youíve had these guys
make a lot of money. What are you going to do? ďLetís make some
more moneyĒ? So this one is about just getting someone who
wasnít one of our guys, and I just love films like that.
got psyched to hear that youíre doing White Jazz with Joe
such a good screenplay.
was it that drew you to the screenplay?
hadnít read the book. Joeís brother Matt wrote a version of the
screenplay that was justÖ and itís dirty, nasty, mean. Thereís
nothing nice about it, and Joeís a great director and should be
doing it more, because I worry about really good directors not
directing enough. Itís 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.
you see Good German as a political film?
to screw up an occupation? (laughs) But I donít know if
thereís a comparison between now and the idea of sort of forgiving
war crimes because thatís not really what weíre doing
particularly right now in
which is better, the Oscars or Sexiest Man Alive?
have to say ďSexiestĒ is big. I got to say, itís a big one, I
use it. Brad is upset, but thereís still a time for him, heís 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