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New interview (phone from Australia) with George

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New interview (phone from Australia) with George Empty New interview (phone from Australia) with George

Post by party animal - not! Sat 15 Jan 2022, 23:33

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New interview (phone from Australia) with George Empty Re: New interview (phone from Australia) with George

Post by LizzyNY Sun 16 Jan 2022, 05:12

Lovely! Thanks for the find. Thumbs up!
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New interview (phone from Australia) with George Empty Re: New interview (phone from Australia) with George

Post by annemarie Mon 17 Jan 2022, 11:43

[size=48]George Clooney on casting Ben Affleck, writing from real life, and what comes next
Getting Tender with George.
By Leah GreenblattJanuary 14, 2022 at 03:00 PM EST[/size]


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One of the last true movie stars, you presume, would arrive with a team, if not an entire army of handlers and gatekeepers. But George Clooney calls direct from Australia, where he's currently shooting a romantic comedy with Julia Roberts. "No, no publicists around here," he says, laughing. "It's just kangaroos and me."
He's on the line to talk about his latest directing effort, The Tender Bar (currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video) a shambolic, big-hearted coming-of-age drama based on J.R. Moehringer's bestselling 2005 memoir of his boyhood on Long Island starring Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, and Lily Rabe. The actor-director, 60, spoke to EW about his own underage bar-keep history, writing a John Grisham script for Bob Dylan (no, really), and why all roads lead back to The Wizard of Oz.


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George Clooney directs Daniel Ranieri on the set of 'The Tender Bar'
 
| CREDIT: CLAIRE FOLGER/AMAZON

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You've directed movies based on books before — Confessions of a Dangerous MindMonuments Men. Do you find it easier to be working from real-life source material or no?
You know, I don't know. The good news with having a book is it gives you a palette to work from. When we did Argo [which Clooney produced], that was based on an article, [but] when I wrote Goodnight and Good Luck, you're creating your own sort of narrative there.
The hard part about it is if you read Interview With the Vampire and it says, "And blood flows like a river," your imagination is always much more interesting than what you could do cinematically. Doing Catch-22 was the most daunting of them all, since it's one of the most beloved books of all time. You just have to accept the idea that you're never going to quite fit everybody's bill, but you're also trying to create your own version of the story. Three Days of the Condor, the source material was Six Days of the Condor. So you always have to change it up a little bit.

Just slice those Condors in half and you're good. Turning back to Tender, how did you see Ben Affleck in the role of Uncle Charlie, this sort of literary Long Island bachelor-gadfly? Was it that he was just less expensive than Matt Damon or—
[Laughs] It was. Hard times, and we thought we could get him cheap. You know, it's funny, this is a character that when Grant [Heslov, Tender's producer] and I read it, we were like, "Well, who's going to play that part?" And both of us at the same time thought about Ben.
We've worked with Ben before. We like him a lot. He's very smart, which this character has to be. He's well-read, as Ben is. And he's also the guy who works at a bar, a working-class guy, and Ben has the ability to do that. To me, it was always like listening to the Sopranos doing Shakespeare. There was something really interesting about hearing these guys with Long Island accents but they're talking about, you know, great authors. 
So when we sent it to Ben, It was about this time last year, I guess, and we didn't know what he was doing. Didn't know what his world was like. And he sent back like, a two-page email that went on forever about why he's exactly the right guy and how he's going to kick ass and he'll do it for nothing.
When we spoke to him, Ben said he knew Uncle Charlie right away, he just recognized this guy and this type. Did you have an Uncle Charlie?
I had an Uncle George I was named after, who's more of a screw up than Uncle Charlie. He was a bad drunk. He also happened to be the funniest man alive, and in the summers I would stay with him. He lived above a bar called Hilgey's, which was near Cincinnati, and it was a real — my mom called it a bucket of blood because there's always some flight or something going on in there, but I would go down and get him cigarettes from a cigarette machine, and it was so exciting. So I was the exact same age as the kid is in this movie at that exact same time, 1972, '73, just in a very different area of the world.
My only problem with my uncle George was that there were two personalities, and when he was drunk, it was not the best of personalities. And so it wasn't all good, but he was a huge influence on our family, and somebody that we all looked to because he was so funny and smart.
You've worked with some great child actors — I'm thinking of Noah Jupe (A Quiet PlaceFord v. Ferrari), who you first put in Suburbicon — and you have a lovely newcomer in this, Daniel Ranieri, as little J.R. Do you treat them as tiny adults when you're directing, or do kids get their own method?
No, you treat them like tiny adults. Remember, I played pediatrician on ER, so I worked with kid actors every single day for five years, and a different one a day. They're so much smarter than we give them credit for, they know exactly what's going on. And with Daniel who had never acted before, he's 10 years old — honestly I've worked a lot of great kid actors but this kid, it was just insane. We have a six-page [scene] with his father in the car, there's no cuts and he did it one take. I played it back and looked at it and said "We got it."  That's unheard of.
I remember finding out Noah was actually British, that kind of blew my mind.
He's very special young man, Noah. When John Krasinski was doing [A Quiet Place], he called me and said 'I'm looking for a kid.' And I was like, "I got one for you." I would do that with Daniel in a heartbeat too. 
The scene-setting and the era is so specific in The Tender Bar.  How real did that 1972 or 1983 feel to you on set?
Since I lived through those pretty well, it felt exactly right. And that's the fun part. I think we have a tendency to reminisce about things a little differently than they actually were — for instance in period pieces, a lot of the times it'll be, like, 1939, so everyone will have brand-new clean 1939 cars, and that's not at all what it was. People were still driving cars from 1919 back then too, because most people didn't have only new things. So it was fun to sort of clutter the scenes more with things that were probably shiny in 1962, you know? That's how I remember it too.
When we did Good Night and Good Luck, the reason we shot it in black and white was because I'd never seen a color picture of Edgar R. Murrow. We only knew him in black and white. And this one, we wanted to be a lot of zooms and rack focuses, because that's the way we watched movies in the '60s and '70s and '80s.

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Ben Affleck in 'The Tender Bar'
 
| CREDIT: CLAIRE FOLGER/AMAZON STUDIOS

Adult dramas have obviously struggled in the last few years to compete theatrically. How much does bringing Tender to Prime play into that for you, in terms of just giving a movie like this a chance to find its audience?
Look, it's been hard to get these kinds of films made for quite some time, long before streamers sort of took over. The Descendants was that in a way, and Up in the Air. It was always difficult to find a place for them to exist. I find that the streamers have opened up a huge world again for the kind of films that I I enjoy watching and I enjoyed making.
So that's the good news. I mean, you always have to fight. I'm also doing a film with Brad [Pitt] for Apple and that's a big-budget film. The secret is you have to work to guarantee that there's also a theatrical release. There's nothing more exciting than watching a comedy in a room full of people, or a scary movie. I find that part of our job is always to make sure that we're protecting the integrity of having films in theaters.
But honestly, theaters weren't jumping at taking a lot of the films that that I've been making for a long time. They were like, "Yeah, that's not really our thing anymore." So the streamers have really opened up a door in a way to keep those kinds of stories alive.
Well, when you see the Netflix numbers that say 80 million people watched Don't Look Up or Bird Box or whatever it is, you go, "Okay then."
Yeah! Yeah.
Okay, last question. As a director you tend to tell these sort of acerbic stories or at least very adult ones, but Tender really is really just a tender, sweet story. Are you maybe getting softer—
Am I mellowing in my old age? [Laughs] It's funny, after we finished The Midnight Sky, which is a modern telling of On the Beach, a very dark story — the world we're living in right now, it's been such a clenched, angry time for all of us. There have been huge dividing lines. And I remember when I got Bill Monahan's script [for Tender], we were writing a screenplay for Bob Dylan actually, adapting a book for Bob to make a movie out of a John Grisham novel, which is pretty dark and has got some really sad stuff in it also. And when I read this, I was like, "God, this is so nice and gentle."
To me it read like The Wizard of Oz, like a young boy who's looking for something he had all along, you know, which is a family unit. The one thing is he had a crappy dad, which a lot of people can relate to, but he had a mother, he had a father figure. And I felt like I needed to be in that world for a while because I feel as if I've been banging my head against a wall for the last year or so.
I'm trying to think who Christopher Lloyd [who plays the irascible Moehringer family patriarch] would be in The Wizard of Oz.
[Laughs] Maybe one of the guys at the gate that doesn't let you in until everybody cries. It's funny, you know, Christopher is finally the age he's been playing [on screen] for 40 years.
But yeah, it felt like we could at least say, "Wherever you are in the world, this is a nice story. There are people who are kind to one another and love one another." And I just liked that. I'll get out of it again and go right back to my funky dark world, but It was nice to be around it for a minute.

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Post by annemarie Mon 17 Jan 2022, 11:50

Really nice interview.

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