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Article from 2007 the Age

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Article from 2007 the Age

Post by Katiedot on Sun Feb 13 2011, 08:11

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Clooney Tunes

October 21, 2007

George Clooney is the best at being a movie star. That's why everyone prints his jokes and listens to his views, says Stephanie Bunbury - and ignores the go-go dancer.

Forgive me, but I'm going to get a bit Who magazine on you here. I can't help it; it's about George Clooney. You may remember that he was in the headlines just a few weeks ago, soon after doing the rounds of film festivals - Toronto, Venice and Deauville - to talk up his new film, Michael Clayton. He had crashed his motorbike.

With him on the motorbike was one Sarah Larson, his new 28-year-old girlfriend; he cracked a rib, but she unfortunately broke a foot. She still made it to the premiere of Michael Clayton in New York, however, gamely swinging up the red carpet on crutches.

The whole business clearly caught the press on the hop, because nobody knew anything about the woman who had been to a real ER with George Clooney, the most eligible bachelor in the world. She had been in Venice, too, apparently, although, if there were paparazzi who spotted her and followed the couple around, none of the regular film press knew anything about it.

They met, so it was said, at an Ocean's Thirteen premiere party at a club in Las Vegas. Larson was working there, serving cocktails.

It took almost a week, however, before the notorious London tabloid The Sun produced a feature on her. A small-town girl from Washington State (so it said), Larson had been an entrant on a reality television show, Fear Factor, where she named her profession as "go-go dancer".

She was partnered on the show by her former fiance, a waiter at the steakhouse where she worked when she moved to Vegas. She certainly hit the jackpot when she caught Clooney's eye. In the twinkling of a pumpkin coach, he had whisked her away to his villa on Lake Como in Italy.

This all sounds so much like some forgotten film starring Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe that it is hard to believe any of it. But there is the evidence of one's eyes: The Sun has a picture of Larson eating a scorpion on Fear Factor, plus interviews with her boss at the bar that sound real enough. What doesn't add up, however, is that this story is about a man who says his idea of a perfect date is a night at the Democratic Convention.

Why is the fabulously desirable Clooney never seen dining a deux with a thrusting party strategist, or an aid agency activist, or any of the great actresses he chooses as colleagues and friends - anyone, indeed, who shares any of his myriad heavyweight interests? Not that this is any reflection on Larson, who looks very jolly as she smiles for the camera, balanced on her good foot. It's just that they are always Sarah Larsons. It's very curious.

Speaking to the press in Venice, Clooney ranges from his commitment to aid projects in Darfur to his interest in developing fuel cells for watches with Omega, with whom he has an advertising deal. He also puts in a plug for Barack Obama. He also talks seriously, in a way few people now do, about film-making as a medium for ideas. Many of his films he does for nothing, in order to get them made; Michael Clayton is one of them.

Directed and written by Tony Gillroy, who also wrote the Bourne trilogy, it is about a washed-up corporate lawyer - played by Clooney - who faces a moral crisis when he finds himself embroiled in a huge case with a chemical company. The company's own lawyers are prepared to go to any lengths to avoid paying out on hundreds of deaths caused by one of its pesticides, especially when they find one of Clayton's colleagues has been feeding information to the other side. But Clayton is not used to taking moral decisions; he usually just takes the money. "George can be very convincing," says Gillroy, "as someone who's conflicted."

It is not, says Clooney, intended to be a political film. "It wasn't designed to say 'Let's talk about corporate corruption'," he says. "It was a more a genre film where you say, 'Here's a story about corruption in this corporation'. But you can then have the long discussion about the issues of Enron and corporate corruption." So it is an oppositional film, for whatever that's worth; Clooney isn't sure. But, he says, he imagines himself at 80 and wants to be able to say he made some "decent" films. "And although I don't know if they have much effect, I'd hate to see a world where you didn't have those films."

Clooney never mentions his inseparable new relationship during any of this, even when he was asked questions about friends and lovers and even though she was, presumably, poolside at their hotel at that very moment. And why should he? What strikes you at this point, however, is how little we know about anything to do with his love life - even if he has one. He often has a self-deprecating little dig at himself for being hopeless at maintaining relationships, but there have been very few names over the years.

The fact that he has managed this in an industry where lesser lights are regularly tailed, staked out, photographed through their windows or hedges or have their rubbish sifted is remarkable. His stardom seems to make him untouchable - untouchable, clearly, in some way that Brangelina, who were pursued everywhere they went in Venice, are not. Which is proof, should any further be needed after seeing Clooney glad-hand a crowd, that nobody understands stardom like he does.

Clooney wasn't famous at all until he was cast in ER at the age of 33. Fame did, however, run in the family. "The truth of the matter is I grew up around famous people," he says in Venice. "In the world I grew up in - Cincinnati, Ohio - my father was a big star. And my Aunt Rosemary was a big star."

Nick Clooney was a television news anchorman known, like his son, for his integrity, intelligence and outspoken liberal views. Rosemary Clooney was a famous singer in the '50s whose career was eclipsed by rock'n'roll. She later turned, with considerable success, to jazz. But as Clooney points out, her singing ability didn't disappear in the interim; it is stardom itself that is fickle.

"I saw how little it has to do with you. It's all about luck," he says. "The problem with famous people in general is that they actually think they're geniuses. You get famous and you think, 'Yes, of course I should be famous and I've earned it all'. You haven't: you got lucky. I got lucky. I was in a TV show that got a Thursday night timeslot at 10pm and it was a massive hit, and, as a result, I get to do movies I want to do. If that hadn't happened, I'd be doing a TV show and making a living. Or not."

So he doesn't mind playing the star for the cameras or the crowds. He doesn't take it all for granted.

"And I'm at that point, in my life and my career, where very few things rattle me. So I'm not sick of being 'on'. It doesn't bother me. There are times, but not often." Gillroy says that Clooney can maintain his endless bonhomie because he is not pretending to be anything he isn't.

"Of all the movie stars I've dealt with, George has the least amount of filter between the way he presents public and private. That's why it's easy for him. He doesn't have to waste time putting on a front."

Clooney is at his best in Michael Clayton. Charismatic but weary, getting through every day on a surfeit of wits that have, somehow, made him indispensable without making him a partner or even any serious money. He looks puckered with spiritual exhaustion. This is, he says, pretty much exactly how he was; he was working the Oscar campaigns for two films, Syriana and his own Goodnight, and Good Luck, throughout the shoot. He was exhausted, a little overweight and hating the business of "kissing babies", as he puts it.

"You can convince yourself that you're doing it for the film, but, in a way, you start to feel unclean about yourself," he says. The voting is even worse. "There's this weird thing that happens. It stops being about promoting a film and it starts to become comparing art. That always feels sort of wrong. You sit back and think, 'Is David Straithairn better than Philip Seymour Hoffman?'. All of a sudden, that happens."

His solution, as soon as they wrapped Michael Clayton, was to get on a plane to Darfur. "You really start to feel unclean and you want to stand in Chad for 10 days."

Will Larson want to stand in Chad, being inseparable, after the Oscar campaign in which Clooney will no doubt be seen to be a contender for best actor? Maybe she will. Her old boyfriend said she liked camping in the woods. And, if she doesn't, she asked her boss at the cocktail bar to hold her job for her while she tried being George Clooney's girlfriend, which he had agreed to do.

Whether Clooney has to account for himself to anyone is, like much of his life, anyone's guess.

"I have this great group of friends," he says. "And they've been a great group of friends for 25 years. It's a huge part of my life. I'm lucky. I also have great parents. A great sister." Spending more time with all of them, he says, is a priority as he gets older. "And wearing Speedos," he adds, returning to the light jesting he does so well, "I've decided is high on my list."

It's hard to see where Larson, or anyone like her, fits into that. But perhaps that is the point - unless a motorbike accident thrusts her into the spotlight unexpectedly, we aren't supposed to see her at all. This is Clooney's gig. He calls the shots.

CLOONEY'S DATING RESUME

1985 Dated Michelle Pfeiffer's 19-year-old sister DeDee.

1987-1989 Linked with future Mrs Travolta, Kelly Preston.

1989 Married actress Talia Balsam, when he was 28. They divorced three years later.

1995 Dated actress Kimberly Russell.

1996-1999 Dated French waitress/model Celine Balitran.

2000-2005 On-off relationship with British underwear model Lisa Snowdon.

2002 Dated Montreal waitress Maria Bertrand.

2002-2004 On-off relationship with soft-porn actress Krista Allen.

2006 Linked with actresses Terri Hatcher, Renee Zellwegger, Pamela Anderson, Ellen Barkin.

2007 Dates waitress/go-go dancer Sarah Larson.

Katiedot
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Re: Article from 2007 the Age

Post by PigLove on Sun Feb 13 2011, 15:49

Thanks Katie!

This article started out seemingly focused on the very intriguing mystery of why GTC's love life doesn't seem to live up to the rest of his public persona, then just meanders away from the topic, spewing up the usual quotes about fame, family, and the fellas. Disappointing. I know there's really nothing substantive one could write about the reasons behind G's love life, so I don't blame the author from shying away from what would have to be sheer conjecture. But it feels like a bait and switch.

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Re: Article from 2007 the Age

Post by melbert on Sun Feb 13 2011, 16:59

It seems like a lot of his interviews are "bait and switch". If he's passionate about something, he seems to be able to stay focused and interested and sincere, but then zowee - here comes the jokes, etc.

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Re: Article from 2007 the Age

Post by Atalante on Sun Feb 13 2011, 22:57

Speedos ? So is he wearing more speedos ?

Atalante
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Re: Article from 2007 the Age

Post by melbert on Sun Feb 13 2011, 23:53

We can only hope Atalante! I want pictures!

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Re: Article from 2007 the Age

Post by PigLove on Mon Feb 14 2011, 01:05

Uch. I hate speedos unless the wearer has the best body in the entire world.

A speedo wouldn't "suit" GTC, unfortunately. Get it!? Did you GET THAT JOKE?

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Re: Article from 2007 the Age

Post by melbert on Mon Feb 14 2011, 03:59

Oh PigLove, you be so funny!!!! Got it!!!

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Re: Article from 2007 the Age

Post by bellybaby on Mon Feb 14 2011, 13:08

"It's just that they are always Sarah Larsons." funny, too true.

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Re: Article from 2007 the Age

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