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Rob Edelman – George Clooney is a Mensch
3 Oct 2011 Written by: WAMCRadio Filed under: Rob Edelman
The public screening of THE DESCENDANTS at the Toronto International Film Festival was a special treat for movie lovers– and for admirers of its star, George Clooney. Countless fans who did not have screening tickets showed up just to see if they might steal a glance of their hero. Unlike so many celebrities, who preen before the cameras and stride down the red carpet oblivious to the fan frenzy, George Clooney acted in a manner that was, well, refreshing. And this was a beautiful thing.
It so happened that the street in front of the festival venue where THE DESCENDANTS was playing was closed to traffic and Clooney, ever the gentleman who is appreciative of his fan support, did not just enter the theater. Instead, he walked up and down the avenue. He waved to the crowd and smiled enthusiastically. He stopped and shook hands with those who were closest to him. He gave onlookers a genuine thrill, a movie star memory.
George Clooney himself hails from a celebrity family. His father, Nick, is a newscaster and talk show host of note. His aunt is Rosemary Clooney, the late singer. But my sense is that George was raised far outside the spotlight. He was brought up right, and this perhaps accounts for all his humanitarian works.
I have been to countless press conferences and events where the actors and director do little more than toss bouquets at each other. The actors stress the generosity and genius of the filmmaker. The filmmaker emphasizes that his cast was letter-perfect. On this set, all those on hand were one big happy family.
Of course, the sole reason for these press events is to hype the films and sell more tickets. George Clooney understands this as well as anyone. But during a press conference for THE IDES OF MARCH, which he stars in and also directed, and which also was screened in Toronto, co-star Ryan Gosling was sitting by his side. As Gosling began complimenting him, Clooney reached into his pocket, produced some paper money, and began gently tossing the bills in Gosling’s direction. This was Clooney’s way of winking at those on hand and, in essence, admitting: “I know what this is all about. You know what this is all about. So let’s not kid ourselves. And while we are at it, let’s have some fun.”
While in Toronto, I heard the stories that I often are privy to about the behavior of celebrities. I heard yet one more anecdote about how a certain famous director is a true-blue louse. I heard a tale about how a certain movie star ordered a low-paid-or-no-paid assistant to fetch him a certain sandwich, which meant that to accede to this star’s wish the aide had to spend four hours driving in dense Los Angeles traffic.
I doubt that any of these horror stories ever would feature George Clooney. In a world that seems to have gone mad with celebrity obsession and celebrity ego, this is indeed a beautiful thing.
Rob Edelman teaches film history at the University at Albany. He has written several books on film and television, and is an associate editor of Leonard Maltin’s Movie and Video Guide.
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Wonderful article, Katie. You sure do find nice ones. Where do you find the time?
- Achieving total Clooney-dom
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Very good article. This is how I imagine him!
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Nice article, agreed. Thanks Katie.
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