Julia Robert says George Clooney is ‘obsessed’ with Clive Owen

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Finally, a really in-depth interview with Clive Owen in a men’s magazine. I thought the men’s magazines were only for half-naked women now, but Esquire has an interview with Clive up on their website. It was written by Tom Chiarella and it’s called “Just Another Day at the Ponies with Clive Owen”. I don’t even want to know how long this friggin’ article is, and how little of it is actually Clive answering questions. Let’s just say I’ve spent an hour deleting three pages of crap about horses at a racetrack. Oh, and if Tom Chiarella said once that one of the horses had an erection, he must have said it like fifteen times.

There’s not much breaking news in the piece, but it’s an interesting read. The writer met Clive Owen at a Paris racetrack and they spent the day betting and talking. The topics range from horses (duh) to soccer (football) to Berlin. Clive on working with Tom Tykwer in Berlin: “ I wanted to work with the director [Tykwer]…That’s as plain as it is…It’s really the era of directors right now. I also like Berlin. It’s a young city, despite everything. A lot of artists. I wanted to be there for a while.” And here’s Clive talking about learning to ride a horse for King Arthur:

He’s got this thing with sports, this deep bond with the spectacle, which brings out both the boy in him and the reflective citizen. He does not mind showing awe. “I had to ride a horse once,” he says. “In King Arthur. I said I could ride, but I had to call for lessons on the day the deal was signed. I started out on this little chunky thing and slowly moved up. It was months of work. On the first day, the director chose a horse for me and it was this big Arabian, well bigger than anything I’d ridden, with this clop, clop, clop walk. Bigger than any horse I’ve ever seen really. Christ, it was intimidating. First day I had to gallop across a field in full profile. You do it. You have to. Big, big horse.”

[From Esquire]

This writer, Tom Chiarella, has a total man-crush on Clive. He keeps talking about how cool Clive is. Which is true. If I got to go to the racetrack with Clive, I would try to have sex with him in the stables. Or in the seats. Or wherever. My point? He’s really cool. And really good-looking. Chiarella writes this line about Clive: “There is an immutable openheartedness to his face — fearless, not fawning — in the way he looks back at you. He looks like he belongs. He doesn’t screen out a thing; he doesn’t fear.” Perhaps Clive sensed Tom’s bromantic intentions, because Clive starts talking about his wife and how she doesn’t understand manly things like football matches.

There were two options for a writer to see Clive Owen stripped to his passions: this or soccer. Some people do think soccer is important, Clive Owen certainly being one. He’s a straight nut for the Liverpool red-and-white; it’s a condition of being him. “It’s questionable, really. A man caring so much about a team,” he says. “It puzzles my wife, my stubbornness in this. I think she wonders why men care so much about a game. She wonders what the world would be like if they put their energy into something that means something.” He raises his eyebrows on this last little couplet, rolling the weight of the words, considering the possibility. “She makes room for it. My whole family does. I’m at it in front of the television, on satellite, and I’m very loud, thrashing about. That’s a pure thing, that club. Not really explainable, really. My family endures. They don’t understand it.” He thinks about it a little, casts his gaze toward the parade of horses for the second race. And it seems to occur to him that he doesn’t care. He laughs. “But my wife’s never even been to a soccer game, so who is she to say?”

He says, “Outside of being home with my family, I prefer a crowd. At a soccer match, the big crowd, the singing, rocking around, it’s urgent as hell. There’s a ritual to it. I want to be in that mess. And no one bothers me. At a soccer game, everyone’s eyes are on the pitch, aren’t they? They don’t care about some f’ing movie star. They have their eyes on the right thing. They watch the battle.”

[It's] just that he doesn’t access his feelings when you ask him about movies. They’re tasks for him. “I do a lot better if I sit around and think about a character for a couple of months,” he says. “Before I climb into him for a run, I’ve just sat on my ass thinking about him, just reading, plodding around my house, driving my girls to school, fixing eggs. Like that. There’s not a lot of transformation in it. I’m still just a driver to my children.”

[From Esquire]

Some of the best parts are the interviews with people Clive’s worked with. Julia Roberts, Mike Nichols and Spike Lee all talk about Clive with something resembling awe. Nichols talks about Clive’s particularly British experience as an actor who doesn’t care about reaction. Spike talks about how he knew he had to cast Clive because he was one of the few actors who wouldn’t get mowed down by Denzel Washington. And Julia talks about how George Clooney is obsessed with Clive. I’m just going to do the greatest hits from these sections:

Mike Nichols, who directed Closer, thinks of it as a sort of ruddy professionalism. “Clive’s the best example of the actor stripped of the cum-Strasberg, cum-Actors-Studio torture of emotion,” he says. “Here’s a guy who comes to work, gets his coffee, knows his lines. Then someone will say ‘Action,’ he’ll terrify everyone in the room, then we cut, and he picks up his coffee again. It’s a job. Clive is full of feeling, don’t get me wrong… British actors are utterly different animals. You talk to a British actor and he’ll tell you about the night before very matter-of-factly: ‘I f*@&ed her three times.’ They don’t care about your reaction. And you’ll say, ‘Hmm, you f*@%ed her three times. How did it feel?’ and they’ll be blank. ‘Feel? Feel? What’s feeling got to do with it?’ They don’t cart around their emotions about the job. They have lives. Clive has to go home at the end of the day, he has his family. That’s where his feeling resides.”

“George Clooney is obsessed with Clive,” says Julia Roberts, who stars with Owen in the upcoming Duplicity, as she did in Closer in 2004. “Every good-guy actor talks about Clive as one of their very favorites. Because he’s English, because his successes have stood on the shoulders of his talents alone, because he hasn’t just been carried away by popular culture. He’s almost the most free of all of those guys. People just allow him to do what he does…The only surprise about Clive was how absolutely ferocious he could be on camera. When we shot Closer, he used to make me cry. He’s a kind of emotional terrorist, so vicious. The thing about Clive is the happiness and security he has in real life is what allows him to go into a room and grab everyone’s attention effortlessly. The secret is, everyone is really attracted to contentment.”

Spike Lee, who directed him in Inside Man, told me about the power of that face: “I used Clive because he’s one of the only actors that Denzel Washington can’t mow down. He just stood right up to him. Clive’s number-one thing was, how long did he have to have the mask on? You know, I couldn’t blame him. The face is his instrument. And Denzel, he didn’t much like the mask, either. It was hard for him to do a scene where Clive’s face is covered. Clive is a lot to react to, you know?”

[From Esquire Magazine]

Yeah, right, Julia! I’m sure Clooney is the only one obsessed with Clive Owen. The Spike Lee stuff is particularly interesting because I absolutely love Inside Man, and there are rumors that Clive and Denzel really want to do another one.

After reading this whole piece, I kind of came away with the idea that Clive is one cold, distant bastard, but I also think he might simply be a difficult man to interview. Maybe he just doesn’t like getting personal, the way so many other actors enjoy. He doesn’t revel in talking about his “process” or his “inspiration”, he just goes in and gets to work.

Here’s Clive Owen at the Cinema Society screening of ‘The International’ on February 9th. Images thanks to WENN.

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36 Responses to “Julia Robert says George Clooney is ‘obsessed’ with Clive Owen”

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  1. Enonymous says:

    And this is surprising why? We all know George Clooney is bloody gay. First was Brad and now Clive Owen. It is 2009 George, stop patronizing the ladies and come out already.

  2. Annie says:

    You know, I’m sure this goes without saying but God he just got 10 times hotter.

    I think he’s so intense. Yum.

  3. Trillion says:

    You know what’s hot? Clive Owen is married to a non-celeb, real looking woman and they have 2 kids and he seems to be a devoted husband/father. Clooney is seeing the greener grass.

  4. UrbanRube says:

    If you haven’t seen “The Croupier,” just do it.

  5. Autumm Leaves says:

    Clive is HOT and SEXY. Clooney needs to come out of the closet.

  6. Orangejulius says:

    I know this is about Clive, not George, but really, George is gay? Other than the fact that he doesn’t stick with any woman for very long, what makes you think that?

  7. vicsmith says:

    Clive Owen is obsession worthy.

  8. vdantev says:

    Yet another over-used word being stretched beyond the intent of it’s original meaning. Uh.. not everyone who likes and enjoys someone’s work is obsessed with them. At times, I hate American English.

  9. MT says:

    He is a regular guy who happens to be very talented and very good at his job.

    He is not trashy, a devoted husband, and doesn’t need to be tabloid fodder, like Brangelina, to get roles and attention.

    He just happens to be a great actor and a normal stable person.
    I wish they all could be Clive Owen.

  10. czarina says:

    Not being an actor, I would take Julia Robert’s remarks about his being “vicious” and an “emotional terrorist” as insults. Is this just dramatic actor-speak? What does it even mean?
    Why on earth is the title of this post about “George Clooney is obsessed with Clive Owne” and not “Roberts says Owen is an emotional terrorist”?
    Why do we perpetuate tabloid thinking–that some throw-away line JR said meant to idicate that other actors admire the man, becomes the main idea of the story?
    If there are any actors reading this, I’m quite confused about Julia’s remarks (is this a compliment?) and would appreciate any insights!!LOL

  11. Kate says:

    Haha, MT, why bring up Brangelina? Just focus on the hottness that is Clive Owen :) That’s all you need!

  12. kiki says:

    damm hes hot in a man way not in a gay/fey way not in a boy way
    damm hes a hot man.
    secret to Clives acting…
    he doesnt blink

  13. Susan says:

    Czarina, yeah, I agree! Good points.

  14. Mandy says:

    I think I’m going to go watch Closer now…

  15. geronimo says:

    Clooney is not gay. Clive is an interesting actor and a seemingly nice normal man. Beyond that, can’t quite understand the ‘gush’ from the Americans quoted.

  16. Mandy says:

    @ geronimo–just look at American game shows. We Americans get orgasmic when we win a toaster on “The Price Is Right!”

  17. geronimo says:

    @Mandy – :lol: yeah, but a toaster’s useful!

    No, I understand his attraction as an actor because he’s quite raw etc, just find the OTT drooling by Roberts and Nichols in particular a bit insane.

  18. minx says:

    Clive Owen has a big career in good movies without selling out and without being a tabloid fodder. And he’s a REAL actor. George Clooney is smart enough to know that, regardless of his status in HW, he’s really just a pretty face.

  19. Kaiser says:

    Czarina – I think Julia was talking about how Clive was an “emotional terrorist” in the film Closer. She was just commenting on how intense his performance was.

  20. Kaiser says:

    Oh, and I don’t think Clooney is gay. I think he likes to pay for it.

  21. Jenni says:

    He really is lovely and I love the film where he is in love with his sister (close my eyes) – sounds sick but is really intense and beautifully acted.

  22. Bonzi says:

    I liked the article. It’s like a good short story. I don’t think Owen looks like anything except a regular guy. I thought there was a lot of good writing in there.

  23. geronimo says:

    @Jenni – agree, best performance ever in Close my Eyes.

    K – exactly, re Clooney.

  24. hestia says:

    czarina, I’m an actress and yes, Julia was giving Clive a compliment. To be able to call that kind of emotion and power up, and have that affect on your fellow actors, when a director yells “action.” is an incredible feat.

  25. czarina says:

    @Hestia==OK, thanks! I know actors have their own professional language and judgments that can seem incomprehensible to non-actors (which is true in most professions).
    I guess I wondered whether she was saying that, in terms of his performing with her, he pushed her emotionally to get a better result.
    I have heard actors talk about directors who, in order to get some sort of reaction, could be incredibly nasty (humiliating and belittling) as a means to their end.
    Not being an actor, to me that sounds unprofessional (a good actor should be able to work without that kind of so-called incentive), but the only place I have seen actors work is on screen, so I don’t claim to understand the process.

  26. Armand says:

    It’s funny how women are completely obsessed with other women, they love this one, hate this one, are better than this one, thinks this one is gorgeous, can’t believe she did that, so impressed with her today and that’s just normal but when someone claims George is “obsessed” with Clive, then, of course, he’s gay and needs to come out of the closet. Until my mid-thirties I couldn’t hold down a long term relationship with a guy. I don’t remember anybody claiming that fact was evidence of my closeted heterosexuality.
    Truth is, men, gay or straight are aware of other men, they know who’s attractive, who they’d like to emulate, who is competition, etc. It’s not something straight men will admit to and it doesn’t make them gay, although any suggestion otherwise is equal to death. The greatest insult you can give a straight man is that he is “like a girl”. I find that pretty sad commentary on what our society thinks of girls.
    I am a gay man and in no way do I look for any inkling that some other guy is gay or closeted when all other things about their lives point otherwise. I take them for their word. The rest is none of my business.
    I’m not obsessed with Clive in the least and in my younger days was more obsessed with, first, Phoebe Cates, then Madonna, then Gwen Stefani (I could go on), perhaps I’m straight and need to come out of the closet.

  27. Isabella says:

    Clooney is a hell of a lot better looking then Clive.

  28. Gary says:

    I always suspected that George cloney was gay. It is really funny how celebrities that are gay try to act like they are not and think they are fooling the public. Good for Julia Roberts to come out with the truth.
    I really respect her for it. I think more people should be open as no one really cares if he is gay or extra gay.

  29. czarina says:

    “George Clooney is obsessed with Clive…every good-guy actor talks about Clive as one of their very favorites”

    @Gary–how did you interpret this as Julia Roberts “coming out with the truth” the George Clooney is gay? That is exactly the type of homophobic nonsense that Armand was talking about in an earlier post–the implication that a man can’t admire another professional, study his work, appreciate his art, without it being taken as underscored sexuality!
    I wouldn’t care if Clooney WAS gay, but I don’t understand this desperate need some people have to insist on it. Same with Tom Cruise.
    Why is it so important to some people that Clooney is “proved” to be gay?

  30. cari says:

    yes Clive Owen is a good actor, which is really a rare thing these days of cookie cutter tabloid magnet hacks. But Christian Bale is still ten times the actor Clive is. Not to demean Clive, But i find Bale alot more compelling and interesting on screen. Anyone who has actually seen his smaller indie type movies would agree.

  31. JUDY says:

    Clooney is not gay, just because he isnt married and doesnt want to split his money with some golddigger doesnt mean he is gay. He was married and got a divorce and that was it for him. WHy do people think people HAVE to get married or they are gay?? God give it a break.

  32. Ashley says:

    Of course he comes off cold, he’s British.

  33. ANO says:

    Denying that clooney is gay is like denying the earth i round,

    it is like being blind to a rainbow and you have to investigate yourself because you have grown insensitive,

    i know im being rude, but its just so sad to see so many people being lied to by their spouses, who cant feel that their partner is gay.

    besides clive owens wife is too, and a sad example…

    estimated more than 20 % of the population today is gay, ever since religion 2000 years ago forsed people to think of them self as straight no matter what, the percentage has grown and grown due to straight/gay marriages.

    just something from a heart who sees people suffering, and wants to help.. cliche but we need to talk openly about this and love all people no matter what sexuality..