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George in Parade magazine

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George in Parade magazine

Post by laetval on Thu Sep 22 2011, 19:41

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George Clooney: I'm Now a Character Actor

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Photo by Sam Jones
George Clooney opens up about turning 50, dealing with failure, and more in this Sunday's PARADE with contributing writer and political analyst David Gergen.

Be sure to check out this weekend's issue of PARADE magazine in your local newspaper for the full interview with George Clooney.

On his love of playing pranks
"There's good fun in watching those play out. And, hey, my friends are rough on me, too. Brad Pitt's brutal, and Matt Damon. My friends used to change my outgoing phone message all the time. This was the old days, when you had a phone machine. They would change the message to something horrible and there was nothing I could do to change it back. That was always brilliant."

Brad Pitt Is Finally 'Satisfied'

On continuing his public life and maintaining privacy at the same time
"I don't tweet, I don't go on Facebook. I think there's too much information about all of us out there. I'm liking the idea of privacy more and more. There will be funny things, like I'll read something I've said about a woman somewhere. And I haven't spoken about my relationships in 15 years."

On turning the Big 5-0 and what it means to his career
"I look at myself onscreen and go, 'I don't look like I did when I was 40—I know that.' The people I've respected most in the industry over the years—Paul Newman, for instance. I just loved the way he handled growing old onscreen. It's understanding that you're now basically a character actor.

"I find that as you get older, you start to simplify things in general. By the time you get a subscription to AARP, which I just got, you have some idea of who your friends are, at least. [Getting the AARP subscription] shocked me—are you kidding? [Laughs] I told them they should do 'The Sexiest Man Still Alive.'"

On learning from his failures
"I had to stop going to auditions thinking, 'Oh, I hope they like me.' I had to go in thinking I was the answer to their problem. The greatest lesson I learned was that sometimes you have to fake it. And you have to be willing to fail."

On his villa in Lake Como, Italy
"I bought it as an investment. I never liked the stock market—to me it's Vegas without any of the fun parts, the girls in bikinis. I like owning dirt. You know, I spent a lot of time broke when I moved to California. So deep in my soul is still this idea of being unemployed. To me, owning land means you could sell it at some point and have money."

On his latest film, The Ides of March, where he plays an inspirational presidential candidate
"We were in preproduction on this film in 2007, before the Obama election. And then we realized that a good portion of the country was elated with what happened in that election, so we had to shelve the movie until people were cynical again. I didn't think it would be quite this quick [Laughs]."

Check out PARADE this Sunday to read David Gergen's full interview with George Clooney, in which he also discusses his work in South Sudan, including the time a young boy pointed a gun at him and his brush with malaria.


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George Clooney on Fame, Pulling Pranks, and His Aunt Rosemary Clooney

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George Clooney opens up about politics, life at 50, and what he's learned from failure in this Sunday's PARADE with David Gergen. In the exclusive extras below, the star talks about his infamous pranks and his early years in Hollywood.

On playing pranks
"You set a bit of a trap and then you watch it slowly unfold. I've had ones that have taken years. I took a painting out of the trash once, and I put it up on an easel in my house and got some paints, and I convinced one of my best friends, [actor] Richard Kind, that I was painting. I bought some other pictures, I told him I was studying art. And then for his 40th birthday I gave him this horrible painting. He had to hang it on his wall, [it was by] his best friend! And for years people would come over—everyone else knew it was out of the trash—and go, 'That is a beautiful painting.' [Laughs] And he was convinced by the end that it was a beautiful painting. Until I did The Tonight Show, I think, and told the story and then I told him to watch the show. And he said, 'I hate that painting.'

"There's good fun in watching those play out. And, hey, my friends are rough on me too. Brad Pitt's brutal, and Matt Damon. My friends used to change my outgoing phone message all the time. This was the old days, when you had a phone machine. They would change the message to something horrible and there was nothing I could do to change it back. That was always brilliant."

On making the move to Hollywood
"The summer I was 21 I was cutting tobacco in Kentucky for a living, making $3 an hour. That's when you decide you've got to move to Hollywood. [Laughs] My cousin Miguel Ferrer and his father, Jose Ferrer, came to Kentucky to do a movie and they got me a job as an extra, at $20 a day, which is good money when you're 21. And then I think Miguel said, 'You ought to come out to Hollywood, be an actor.' And I was like, okay. I had an old beat-up Monte Carlo, it was running on about four cylinders, and I bought a case of oil and sort of nursed it from Kentucky to Los Angeles. I pulled up in the driveway of my Aunt Rosemary's house in Beverly Hills, this very rich place, and my car had rust all over it."

On success and his aunt, Rosemary Clooney
"My aunt Rosemary was a great jazz singer. I asked her, 'Why are you a better singer now when you're 70 years old and you can't hold a note?' And she goes, 'Because I don't have to prove I can sing anymore. Just serve the music, just serve the material.' I'm leaning toward that [philosophy] more and more—in my career, in life.

"Handling success well is a trick. I've got a great advantage because my aunt Rosemary was very successful at a very young age in the '50s, and she didn't handle it well. She paid a very heavy price for it for a long period of time—probably about 20 years, she sort of dropped off the face of the earth. And then she came back roaring and was great. But she had a tough time of it. So I got a really good lesson in the idea that all of this is fleeting. Anyone who thinks that success is a permanent state, particularly in my line of work, is just an idiot. I know what the journey is, and I want to try and enjoy it while I can."

On his father influencing him to be a storyteller
"I grew up around a storyteller, my father. When you come out of the radio age, where you didn't even have moving pictures, people all told great stories and were really good at it. There's an art to it that's dying, because now you can just watch TV or text message and not even spell the words out. The worst crime you could do in my family was tell a boring story. If I did that my father would go, 'Here's an idea, George, next time you tell a story have a point to it.' He'd just bury me [Laughs]."

On the appeal of The Ides of March outside America
"Everywhere it's played, they think it's got something to do with their politics. When I had to pitch this movie, I would say, 'Okay, here's why it's universal and not just an American film about delegate counts.' I pitched the idea of a morality tale. I often referenced ER, because when we first finished the pilot the network thought no one was going to get it. They thought no one would understand words like supraventricular tachyarrhythmia. But the characters were what sold it—that's what people cared about."

On the other fall film he stars in, The Descendants (in theaters Nov. 18)
"It's by a wonderful director named Alexander Payne [Election, About Schmidt, Sideways]. He's the real deal, somebody that I greatly admire as a director and as a man. It's a very funny, very sad movie about a man trying to come to terms with some mistakes he's made over his life, including not really paying attention to his kids. It deals with some tough issues, but it's got humor in it. What a boring day it would be without humor."

Click here to See the Films George Clooney Loves!

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by blubelle on Thu Sep 22 2011, 20:41

Thanks Laetval. I just wish he would say something new, unless they took bits and pieces from other interviews.

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by pattygirl on Thu Sep 22 2011, 21:05

The only things he could say new would involve his "private" personal life and he doesn't talk about that.

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by Katiedot on Sun Sep 25 2011, 02:53

From [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

What Drives George Clooney

David Gergen

September 25, 2011

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Outside the gates of his 18th-century villa, paparazzi wait, ready to pounce. Tour boats pause as passengers snap photos. But inside, dressed in cutoffs and a T-shirt, George Clooney is relaxed and unfazed. Each summer, he retreats to this 13-bedroom piece of paradise, nestled beside Lake Como in the foothills of the Italian Alps. He has a studio here where he writes and edits his films, but mostly he loves to entertain friends. Clooney’s closest buddies stretch back to before he was a star, and they come year after year for conversation, lingering meals, wine, and the freedom to let go.

In August, Clooney opened his doors to PARADE for an interview. The other guests that weekend included a human rights activist who has traveled with him to Africa and an L.A. pal of long standing. No girlfriend, no Hollywood. My tally for two days: 10 hours of sleep, 20 hours of talk, one nasty hangover, nonstop fun. Clooney, it turns out, is a master host.

Likewise, he’s an engaging interview on a wide range of topics, starting with his new movie The Ides of March, a taut political drama about loyalty and betrayal, sex and power (in theaters Oct. 7). Clooney cowrote and directed the film, in which he plays an inspirational presidential candidate whose flaws—and reluctance to compromise—may bring him down; Ryan Gosling costars as the candidate’s idealistic press secretary.

Clooney also delved into more personal areas: turning 50, his work in South Sudan, the roles that luck and confidence can play in life. Serious but quick to laugh, he seems to be in the midst of a life transition, aiming to move from success to lasting significance. It is easy to see why he has great friends—and why they always come back.

PARADE: The Ides of March, which is based on a play called Farragut North, is a cracking good story. It’s also quite dark.
It’s the disappointment in the taking away of a dream. Ryan Gosling’s character goes through a really insane week, and you watch how quickly good ideas can be dashed on the rocks. I’ve seen that happen in my industry.

Good people get caught in bad systems. And there’s a lot of ambiguity.
I’m at a point where I can make films that ask questions and don’t necessarily supply answers—because I don’t know what the answers are. I don’t know if winning at any cost is wrong or not. There are times I’ve thought that the end justified the means.

There’s a scene late in the film between the candidate and his press secretary that has a very sinister quality.
Grant [Heslov, one of Clooney’s cowriters] and I sort of structured the movie around that scene. We were interested in taking two smart men who are very good at what they do, putting their livelihoods in jeopardy, and sticking them in a room to watch them play the most cutthroat game possible. That’s a scene where nobody wins. I really liked the idea of that.

You know, we were in preproduction on this film in 2007, before the Obama election. And then we realized that a good portion of the country was elated with what happened in that election, so we had to shelve the movie until people were cynical again. I didn’t think it would be quite this quick. [laughs]

Your father, Nick Clooney, ran unsuccessfully for Congress from Kentucky in 2004. Did his experience inform your film at all?
There’s a scene I have with my character’s wife that I sort of took directly from my father’s experience. We’re in the car and she asks if I’m going to take this senator on [offer him a position in return for his endorsement]. And I say, “I wasn’t going to do any of this. I wasn’t going to make union deals, I wasn’t going to run negative ads. I can’t on this one; I have to draw the line somewhere.” I remember my father saying, “I’m going to have to go out and shake hands with people I wouldn’t normally shake hands with [to raise funds],” and it killed him to do that. It’s soul-stealing. So I thought that was an interesting thing to talk about in this film—how nobody gets in without some dealings they wouldn’t normally do. Nobody.

This fall, you’re starring in another film, The Descendants. But do you see yourself more as a director now?
Directing is much more satisfying to me than acting. You know, I turned 50 [in May], and I look at myself on-screen and go, “I don’t look like I did when I was 40—I know that.” The people I’ve respected most in the industry over the years—Paul Newman, for instance. I just loved the way he handled growing old on-screen. It’s understanding that you’re now basically a character actor. Which is fine, but you have to pay attention to it.

It’s like William Holden says in Network: “It’s all suddenly closer to the end than to the beginning, and death is suddenly a perceptible thing to me, with definable features.” I love that line!

One theme I see in your life—not only in the way you live but also in the way you direct—is that you try to keep things simple.
I find that as you get older, you start to simplify things in general. By the time you get a subscription to AARP, which I just got, you have some idea of who your friends are, at least.

Was getting the AARP magazine a surprise?
It shocked me—“Are you kidding?” [laughs] I told them they should do “The Sexiest Man Still Alive.”

How do you continue your public life and maintain privacy?
I don’t tweet, I don’t go on Facebook. I think there’s too much information about all of us out there. I’m liking the idea of privacy more and more. There will be funny things, like I’ll read something I’ve said about a woman somewhere. And I haven’t spoken about my relationships in 15 years. It will be something I said years ago, and they’re still using it.

How did you come to buy this villa?
I was riding a motorcycle through the Alps [in June 2001], and my bike broke down. I knocked on this door, and they were nice enough to help out. The Heinz family owned it and offered to sell it to me. I said, “You think I have more money than I have.” [laughs]

I bought it as an investment. I never liked the stock market—to me it’s Vegas without any of the fun parts, the girls in bikinis. I like owning dirt. You know, I spent a lot of time broke when I moved to California. So deep in my soul is still this idea of being un-employed. To me, owning land means you could sell it at some point and have money.

But you also really like spending time here.
I love the way life is spent in Italy. It’s really nice to sit down and have a two-hour lunch, which the Italians do. I realized that I had spent probably 15, 20 years standing up and shoveling food down my throat. It’s not about wealth; it’s about taking time and actually enjoying things. All of my friends think of this as their home. They come even when I’m not here. [laughs] There’s nothing that makes me prouder than this group of friends I’ve managed to stay very close to for a long, long time.

Do you find yourself thinking about what your legacy will be?
I’m the first person to say that it’s all luck that I’m in a position where I get to pick what I want to do. But if you’re in that position, it’s your responsibility to pick projects that will last longer than an opening weekend, that you can look at in a couple of years and go, “Oh, that’s interesting.”

I’m also spending time working on the issues in South Sudan. Maybe there’s some of this fame spotlight I’ve got that I can use elsewhere. My days are filled doing a lot of emailing and coaxing. I find it’s liberating to do those kinds of things and not have to worry about my career anymore.

You’ve traveled a number of times to Africa, especially to Sudan, drawing attention to conditions there after decades of civil war. You also put a spotlight on the successful referendum earlier this year for South Sudan to become a state independent from Sudan. What prompted you to make this your cause?
Two million people were killed in the north-south war in Sudan before 2005. I wasn’t going to stand on the sidelines and not participate. We [Clooney has traveled with organizations including the International Rescue Committee and the Enough Project] went there four times, got the Newsweek cover [Feb. 28, 2011]. I set up this satellite system on the border of Abyei, and we’ve had incredible success in photographing mass atrocities. The idea is, we’re just going to keep the pressure on. Turning the lights on doesn’t mean anything stops. But it makes it harder, and that’s our job.

Going there has been dangerous for you, hasn’t it?
There were times when it was hairy.

Didn’t a 12-year-old kid put a gun to your head?
It was up against my throat. David Pressman [a human rights lawyer, now the director for War Crimes and Atrocities on the National -Security Council] just grabbed the gun barrel and pushed it away, saying, “Don’t do that.” He treated him like a 12-year-old, and that was that.

You also picked up malaria.
Yeah, that was on the first trip [which Clooney took with his father in April 2006]. That was a fun flight home. I think they had to hazmat the whole plane.

You’ve talked about how lucky you are. What have you learned from your failures?
It’s hard when you get thumped. I’ve been proficient at failure. But the only thing you can do is say, “Here’s what I won’t do next time.”

I was a baseball player in school. I had a good arm, I could catch anything, but I was having trouble hitting. I would be like, “I wonder if I’ll hit it; just let me hit the ball.” And then I went away for the fall, learned how to hit, and by my sophomore year I’d come to the plate and think, “I wonder where I want to hit the ball, to the left or right?” Just that little bit of skill and confidence changed everything. Well, I had to treat acting like that. I had to stop going to auditions thinking, “Oh, I hope they like me.” I had to go in thinking I was the answer to their problem. You could feel the difference in the room immediately.

The greatest lesson I learned was that sometimes you have to fake it. And you have to be willing to fail

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by pattygirl on Sun Sep 25 2011, 03:11

Can't wait till the paper comes in the morning. Lucky that Parade is a part of my Sunday paper. Have to put it with my Clooney books and Time from earlier this year. It's a pretty near cover. Wish there weren't quite so many pins on jacket, though.

In one of his biographies (don't remember which one) he talked about when he was in that "I hope they like me" phase. He started bringing in beer, donuts and coffee, so that they'd remember him.

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by it's me on Sun Sep 25 2011, 12:12

in that "I hope they like me" phase. He started bringing in beer, donuts and coffee, so that they'd remember him.

was always George... 'alone' in those moments?
tell me


anyway
I want he feels himself no more alone

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by pattygirl on Sun Sep 25 2011, 15:20

Not sure if George was ever alone back then. Thom Matthews tells the story of when George slept on the floor in Thom's walkin closet. Thom was amazed about his constant flow of girls in there. So alone, I don't think so, but with someone I doubt it.

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by it's me on Sun Sep 25 2011, 15:25

alone
in his mind
and inner self

I meant

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by pattygirl on Sun Sep 25 2011, 15:26

Just finished going through Parade article, and don't remember the last time ANY celebrity got as much space in Parade. I find that amazing. Cover great, but too many buttons, inside pic very nice of George in car, window partway down with USA flags reflecting, and a really great picture of George with Nina and Nick. Great read. It's the George we all admire[i] so much. I love you

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by it's me on Sun Sep 25 2011, 15:39

right love1

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by it's me on Sun Sep 25 2011, 21:10

I’m also spending time working on the issues in South Sudan. Maybe there’s some of this fame spotlight I’ve got that I can use elsewhere. My days are filled doing a lot of emailing and coaxing. I find it’s liberating to do those kinds of things and not have to worry about my career anymore.



emails? coaxing?

really George?

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by pattygirl on Sun Sep 25 2011, 21:43

Why, it's me, does it seem strange that George would be coaxing via email, to get people to see the issues of South Sudan, and perhaps contribute to NOMW, or any of his other causes. He can't demand that his contacts join him, but with his charm and sincerity, I'm sure that he does an excellent job of coaxing, and gets results, too.

When I started reading your post, I thought that you were talking about you, personally. Please put in quotes, so that we know that's what it is.

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by it's me on Sun Sep 25 2011, 23:13

sorry
I will

anyway

now: charm
sure
but sincerity?
are u sure?

totally?

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by pattygirl on Sun Sep 25 2011, 23:24

That's the way I feel about his causes. That's what I'm talking about. He has no axe to grind regarding his causes. He believes in them and is sincere in his presentation of them.
Why would you doubt his sincerity about them? Have you something specific in mind?

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by it's me on Sun Sep 25 2011, 23:39

yep

@ sincerity
I doubt
but not in general
and absolutely not about his humanitarian efforts


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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by laetval on Mon Sep 26 2011, 19:51

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David Gergen Reflects on His Candid Conversation With George Clooney

As the gates opened into George Clooney's place along Lake Como in Italy, I was apprehensive and wondered how the next two days would be. What I found was both a surprise and a delight.

Some weeks before, editors at PARADE had called to ask if I would be interested in interviewing Clooney in advance of his fall political drama. "Sure," I said, "I don't know him at all, but it sounds like a hoot." Wheels were soon in motion, as he and his team said yes. We couldn't work out a date in L.A. and out of nowhere, he invited me to come spend a weekend with him at his 18th century villa in Italy; we could do the interview there. I said yes in a nano-second: what an adventure!

Still, I harbored concerns. As I mentioned the upcoming trip to a few friends, each one knew a great deal more about his life than I did — how he grew up in Kentucky, how he started out as a jock but made his way to Hollywood on a dime, how his aunt Rosemary took him under her wing. For years he toiled with different TV series but then had a breakthrough with ER, and that catapulted him into the big time. One film success followed another, as did one girlfriend after another. Now he was a superstar, who was not only acting but producing and, more to the point, directing films. And he had become devoted to helping the utterly helpless in Sudan.

That was the arc of his outer life, I came to see, but who was he inside? What kind of person was he? I couldn't be sure from the interviews and profiles that I devoured. They seemed to trail off about four years ago as he made himself less available to the press, struggling to maintain his privacy.

Hollywood is not my natural habitat. I have known several actors and directors over the years but have found it hard to generalize about them. One of them was Ronald Reagan, whom I worked for in the White House, and while he was a good deal more conservative than I am, I found him to be one of the best leaders I have ever known. A few others from Hollywood also impressed, but — as in politics — there were a disproportionate number of egomaniacs and phonies.

Before my trip, Sony had allowed me to preview his new film, The Ides of March (opening October 7). I found it riveting. It's a political drama but could have just as easily been set in corporate America, as it explores the tensions between loyalty and betrayal, sex and power. Clooney co-wrote, acted and directed. Sometime soon, I hope to show it to students at the Harvard Kennedy School (my day job), as it will spark good conversation.

Still, it didn't tell me what I really wanted to know: who is George Clooney when the cameras stop? What makes him tick? And, by the way, would I be able to keep my eyes open? This was my third trip across the Atlantic in the space of a short time, and as I landed in Milan, I was beat. Would I be a total bore? Would he look upon my presence as a total pain-in-the-bum?

He had sent his driver to fetch me, and we zoomed off on the 45-minute drive toward his villa. A narrow road winds up from the town, along the lake, homes and shops pressing in from each side, and then suddenly a gate appeared. We slipped in and down the short drive to his home. It was just after 9 a.m.

To my surprise, he was waiting there alone, reading and sipping a cup of coffee, dressed in a gray T-shirt and cut offs. He offered to make coffee, and went off to fetch a cappuccino. Then we sat outside in a brilliant sun and talked for a steady hour, chatting about this and that, starting to exchange funny stories, laughing. He was setting the tone for the weekend.

"You must want some sleep," he said, and escorted me upstairs to a bedroom suite. "You can stay here. Hope it has everything you need. When you hear a bell ringing, you will know it is time for lunch out by the pool. I hope to see you then." And he disappeared.

There were three waiting as lunch began, all casually dressed — Clooney, his friend David Pressman (a human rights lawyer, now the director for War Crimes and Atrocities on the National Security Council, who first brought Clooney to Sudan and has accompanied him on several successive missions overseas since), along with a friend of David's. The next day, another old friend of Clooney's, a lawyer from L.A., arrived.

At that first lunch, I proposed that only when we sat down for the interview Sunday afternoon, with my tape recorder (if I could get it to work), would conversations be on the record. Everything else was off the record unless permission was granted. Everyone agreed — no one wanted to be on guard for 48 hours.

We were a small crew for the weekend — no Clooney girlfriends, no Hollywood — and together we had some of the most spirited times in memory. From start to finish, Clooney was relaxed, thoughtful, open, sometimes playful — and always generous. He was, I discovered, a master host. Our conversations ranged from film to politics, directing to acting, family to friends, the deterioration of civility in the U.S. to his hopes for Sudan. Every few moments would be punctuated by a funny story, a mischievous aside. His dad came out of radio, he explained in our interview, and taught him the importance of telling stories that were amusing...and also had a point. He always tried to keep the conversation bubbling, never boring — and as a guest, you tried to do the same.

As we talked and then sat down with the tape running, three strong impressions emerged for me.

Clooney appears, to me at least, to be a man undergoing a life transition. His 50th birthday got his attention, especially when AARP sent him a magazine and asked him to join up. "It shocked the s--- out of me," he said in our interview. You look at that, and say okay, I have got to get going, I've got stuff I've gotta do.

Central to his transition is his approach to films. Having made it to superstardom, he feels incredibly liberated to do more of what he wants, no longer having to worry so much about career. He wants to move gradually from acting to directing, and he wants to make significant films that will last. Sure, he will occasionally play in a big film for fun, and, recognizing that films are entertainment, he will always include humor in his own productions. But he isn't as interested anymore in making a big splash at the weekend box office; rather, he wants films that will be remembered years later. The best way to go is probably through a low budget, as studios are more willing to take a chance. At a time when a box-office smash can cost some $200-300 million or so, he notes that Up in the Air was a $22 million film and The Ides of March cost about $12 million. Films like that, he thinks, may not always hit, but they often hold up.

Getting older has also prompted him, as it has others, to look toward the essence of things. Stop living with the noise in the margins and focus on what matters. Learn to simplify.

Whether and how the sense that Clooney is "going through an interesting journey" will change his personal life is unclear. Since his marriage to Talia Balsam ended, there has been a stream of gorgeous-looking girlfriends. Paparazzi are constantly snapping pictures, people gossip, but he hasn't talked to the press about his relationships for 15 years. And he didn't start now. But I came away wondering if one day sooner than later, he might seek a lasting relationship.

A second strong impression that emerged is that George Clooney is a more serious man than I ever imagined. Just for starters, he is serious about what films should be. Covering ground we had plowed more than once over the weekend, he explained what everyone (except me) seems to know — that 1939 was the vintage year of American filmmaking: Citizen Kane, The Grapes of Wrath (filmed in '39), The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Gone with the Wind are all products of that year.

But Clooney has a special fascination with a more recent era: 1965-1975. "You can go through the list of Mike Nichols, Hal Ashby, Coppola, Scorsese — you go down the list of these insanely talented filmmakers all working at the top of their game and somehow kind of competing with each other. Pakula, Lumet, I mean, you can just keep going down the list of these guys. And they were all doing really interesting films," he said.

Recently Clooney decided to give his friends a set of the best films of that decade. As he studied the list, he realized that "1964 was Dr. Strangelove and Fail Safe. And 1976 was All the President's Men, Network, Taxi Driver, Bound for Glory — just, you know, brilliant films...films that were really changing the face of filmmaking. And they hold up when you see them. So I gave all my friends for Christmas the 100 best films between 1964 and '76." (See the list here).

"In general, I fell in love with that kind of filmmaking. That era was a reflection of the antiwar movement, of the civil rights movement, the women's rights movement, the sexual revolution, the drug counterculture. All those things were exploding at the same time. And these films were reflections of it. They weren't leading the way; films never lead the way 'cause it takes too long to make them... But it's interesting because they show a period of time. I think we're in an interesting period in our country's history right now. We're very polarized... it's frustrating."

"So," I ask, "these are times that cry out for important films, significant films that capture..."

"I find for me that's what I want to do..." Any movie he makes now: "You know, it had better be worth your time."

Clooney is equally serious about his efforts in Sudan. When he first went, he decided to take his dad, a major television presence in the southern Ohio-Kentucky border area who was down after losing a Congressional election in 2004. David Pressman, then working for a non-profit, was to take them.

Shortly before they were to leave, the State Department issued an advisory against civilian travel to the area. They went anyway and, while there, Clooney had a harrowing experience — a 12-year-old boy put a rifle to his neck and threatened to blow his head off. Pressman suddenly saw what was happening, strode over, and brushed the gun back.

Clooney talks of the moment to this day. And he has returned repeatedly to the problems of Sudan, recognizing that by his very presence, he can attract cameras that will show the world how innocents are being slaughtered and bring progress. Some believe that Clooney deserves part of the credit for South Sudan's recent partition as an independent country from the north.

Clooney points out that a number of his friends in Hollywood are trying to make a difference in tough hotspots — Sean Penn went and lived in Haiti for a year; Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have been to places like Pakistan; Pitt also worked hard to begin rebuilding New Orleans; Matt Damon has been engaged in clean water; Don Cheadle has done with in Sudan, Ben Affleck in the Congo. Clooney can talk in depth about each. But it's hard to point to anyone who has had greater continuity and seriousness of purpose: Even with the creation of a border in Sudan, Clooney, working with partners like Harvard, has helped to put a satellite in place that can provide graphic evidence to the world of continued violence and help to contain it.

Not surprisingly, David Pressman has joined Clooney's list of close personal friends. What is notable, however, is that Pressman is one of the few of recent vintage. The circle that he speaks about with great fondness mostly dates back to the days before he became a superstar, when, during his broke early days in Hollywood, he formed bonds with a number of people who remain close to this day. I have found in politics that you can trust a politician more if he has friends who date back a long way, pre-fame; that means he can form and keep relationships of trust with people who aren't looking for anything. If all of his friends have come since fame or fortune, watch out. I can only imagine that is even more true in Hollywood.

Clooney, to his credit, has maintained a circle, and several of them come to see him at Lake Como year after year. "Honestly," he says, "there is nothing that makes me more proud, there's nothing I have accomplished better in my life than this group of friends. We've managed to stay very close for a long, long time."

Fortunately for his friends, Clooney hasn't lost any of his playfulness as he has climbed the slippery ladder of success. If anything, it may have grown so that every conversation has funny tales of the past and spicy notes about today. Sitting by the lake, wine glass in hand, he loves to regale visitors with tales of pranks he has played — and those in which he has been cleverly targeted by others.

One of his favorites from his days at the villa arose from the time some years ago when Walter Cronkite was a guest for the first time. At the end of his maiden lunch, where people were casually dressed, Cronkite asked Clooney what the dress code was for dinner (I asked the same thing... who can be sure in these situations?)

"Oh, Walter," Clooney told him, "we always dress in black tie for our dinners here." This being Hollywood, Cronkite had brought a tux and when the dinner bell rang that night, he dutifully showed up in all his studs. There awaiting him at the table were all of the other guests, all dressed in bath robes. "Damn you," Cronkite said, and stomped off back to his room to take off his tux. A little while later, Cronkite returned, dressed in his bath robe. And there, of course, Clooney had ensured that every guest would now be dressed in tuxedoes and gowns. Cronkite let off a string of expletives — but they had a grand dinner. (Nick Clooney, George's dad, was there for that visit, and over the years, he and Cronkite developed ties so close that the family asked Nick to give a eulogy at Cronkite's memorial service. Many thought it was the best given.)

So it went all weekend. There were somber moments when we were talking about the tragedies that have befallen Sudan and his desire for a legacy of helping; five minutes later, I felt like I was on the set of Ocean's Eleven. Early that Sunday evening, he took the five of us out on his boat for a cruise along the lake. A paparazzi boat immediately tailed us and swung around in circles. Clooney stopped in middle and brought out champagne and cheese; eventually he persuaded the paparazzi to leave, and as night fell, we enjoyed a long, quiet conversation looking out over one of the world's most beautiful scenes.

Coming in, we sat outside under the stars for dinner. It was pizza night and a couple offered up an eight-course meal, pizzas coming straight out of an indoor oven, each covered with fresh vegetables from the garden. Wine and talk both flowed copiously.

I lost track of time, but by 2 a.m. or so — when I was hammered and was reasonably certain that others were, too — we had become raucous. Out of nowhere, Clooney jumps out of his chair and starts climbing a fence that overlooks the lake below. From the top, fully clothed, he counted, One... two... and jumped. I heard three just before hit the water. Within seconds, he was challenging our masculinity. Okay, guys, let's see your stuff. One other guest was next up and jumped. Hell, I thought, I have an early morning plane and I don't want wet clothes. So... what choice did I have? I stripped down to my skivvies, climbed that darn fence.... And whoa, it seemed like I was 30 feet above the water. One... two... I was in the water by three. It was very dark, a little cold, but terrific. So we kept jumping.

Eventually we repaired to his kitchen in bathrobes, trying to warm up. Out came a bottle of limoncello, and the conversation flowed on until I finally crawled up to bed at 4:30.

When I left the house — with a nasty hangover — for the airport four hours later, only one other guy was up. I was sorry that I never had a chance to say goodbye, especially to the man who brought us all together. I still wasn't completely sure who he was down deep — just like I couldn't be sure exactly what made some presidents tick — but I did know this: George Clooney is a classy guy and one of the world's best hosts. No wonder his friends return year after year.

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by cindigirl on Mon Sep 26 2011, 20:13

Great, great article laetval. Thanks.

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by pattygirl on Mon Sep 26 2011, 20:18

Thank you again, laetval. Another fantastic find. And so George.

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by it's me on Mon Sep 26 2011, 21:13

thanks
for the window he opened

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by macs on Mon Sep 26 2011, 21:30

nice article, thanks for posting
pretty much expect him to be that way, nice to see it confirmed in some way
did they say when the did the interview ? (or did I read too fast ?)


Last edited by macs on Mon Sep 26 2011, 21:35; edited 1 time in total

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by cindigirl on Mon Sep 26 2011, 21:35

I think it was around the time that Sony got involved with Ides of March. Probably this year sometime.

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by it's me on Mon Sep 26 2011, 22:25

I agree

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by pattygirl on Mon Sep 26 2011, 22:36

I would say it was sometime this summer. IOM was already done, and writer said it was summer. Could have been July or August.

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by it's me on Mon Sep 26 2011, 22:42

right pattyg

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by MyGirlKylie on Mon Sep 26 2011, 22:58

Great article, thanks for that Laetval.

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by Atalante on Mon Sep 26 2011, 23:25

He jumped into the lake, that filthy lake, yuk ! Evil or Very Mad

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by pattygirl on Tue Sep 27 2011, 01:09

Nothing a shower wouldn't cure. Sounded like they had fun. They kept doing it.

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by lolo"layla" on Tue Sep 27 2011, 04:50

clooney is crazy!

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by annemarie on Tue Sep 27 2011, 15:22

The writer said he did the interview in august.


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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by pattygirl on Tue Sep 27 2011, 15:25

Probably in that span of time just before VFF, while he was having some down time and enjoying various friends.

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by it's me on Tue Sep 27 2011, 16:35

lolo wrote:clooney is crazy!

sure!

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by pattygirl on Tue Sep 27 2011, 16:59

Of course, he's crazy, but that's one of the endearing things about him, isn't it? That first dip probably shocked him sober, but hell, it's fun so let's do it again and again.
Do we really want him to grow up?
Lightsabre fight

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by it's me on Tue Sep 27 2011, 17:04

well
if you want an honest answer.....

yes



and no
Razz



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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by pattygirl on Tue Sep 27 2011, 17:08

Can't get more honest than that, can we?

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by it's me on Tue Sep 27 2011, 17:09

no! Cool

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by hathaross on Tue Sep 27 2011, 22:50

I read the interview yesterday!! It´s great!!

I like Crazy George lol! they were enjoying a summer night!!

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by pattygirl on Tue Sep 27 2011, 22:54

I'm with you! I think he'd be such fun to be around. He's got to be a blast.

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by Cinderella on Tue Sep 27 2011, 22:57

A lot of fun to be around!

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by MyGirlKylie on Tue Sep 27 2011, 23:05

pattygirl wrote:I'm with you! I think he'd be such fun to be around. He's got to be a blast.

Yeah Right

Oh, you just KNOW he's a hoot to hang around.

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by it's me on Tue Sep 27 2011, 23:06

big blast!

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by lolo"layla" on Wed Sep 28 2011, 06:03




Anderson Cooper Calls Out David Gergen's Weekend With George Clooney on '360'

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by melbert on Wed Sep 28 2011, 19:56

G-Diddy - too funny!

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by watching on Sat Oct 01 2011, 04:16

In the parade interview, they cover his fav 100 films. Sure this is somewhere on the site but thought I would add the links to make it easy.

The Films George Clooney Loves!

George Clooney has gifted his friends (and now PARADE) with 100 of his favorite movies from the years 1964 to 1976, which he calls "the greatest era in filmmaking by far."

His top 5 faves: All the President's Men, Network, Dr. Strangelove, Carnal Knowledge, and Harold and Maude.

On his favorite films
"I'm a product of the '70s filmmakers. I grew up with that. I believe from, like, 1964 to 1976 was the greatest time in filmmaking by far. That was the era that I was watching movies the most. I gave all my friends for Christmas 100 films between 1964 and '76. Dr. Strangelove, All the President's Men, Bonnie and Clyde—movies that were really changing the face of filmmaking."

On the "brilliance" of All the President's Men
"All the President's Men really is a perfect film. And the reason it's a perfect film is you start the movie knowing how it ends. We know that Woodward and Bernstein get the scoop and Nixon gets got and you're chewing your fingernails off through the whole movie.

"There are those moments when Robert Redford goes to meet Deep Throat and we know he's not going to get killed 'cause we know the characters don't die. But you're nervous for him the whole time. Alan J. Pakula was a great director. It's a really well made film."

On the notable filmmakers
"There were great filmmakers—Mike Nichols, Hal Ashby, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese—you go down the list of these insanely talented filmmakers all working at the top of their game and kind of competing with each other. Pakula, Sidney Lumet—I mean, you can just keep going down the list of these guys. And they were all doing really interesting films."

On films that reflect the times
"That era [1964 to 1976] was a reflection of the antiwar movement, the civil rights movement, the women's rights movement, the sexual revolution, the drug counterculture. All those things were exploding at the same time. And these films were reflections of it. Movies are really good when they do that. They give us a sense of what was going on in our psyche.”

Link to the 100 films

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Re: George in Parade magazine

Post by Katiedot on Sat Oct 01 2011, 05:08

I love how Parade thinks this list of films is new. It was published in Esquire about three years ago!

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