George Clooney: ‘The most patriotic thing…is to question your government’

Catch-22 TV Premiere

George Clooney has had a very quiet year. That’s more common since his marriage to Amal – he goes dark for months at a time, and he really only tries to get publicity when he’s promoting a project or when he’s drawing attention to some crisis or political issue. So it is now – George is promoting The Midnight Sky, a film he stars in and directed. He plays a “a lonesome scientist in the Arctic, who races to stop a group of astronauts from returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe.” To promote the film, he did a virtual appearance at the London Film Festival and talked about his career, politics and how he almost did The Notebook (which I do not believe, but sure). Some highlights:

On the pandemic: “We’re sitting in this completely changed world, [where] we find it’s not just about coronavirus, about all the anger and hatred and stuff. You find that you’re really looking for kindness and support around the rest of your life. The directors that I’ve enjoyed working with always have had that as a quality.”

He decided to make Good Night, and Good Luck after seeing the lead-up to the war in Iraq. “In 2003 and 2004, there were like five or six of us saying this is a terrible idea, and everyone else who thought [that] was keeping quiet. I just remember that feeling, the idea that the most patriotic thing you can do in the world is to question your government. I believe that, and will always believe it. I was raised the son of a newsman.”

The difference in the media today: “It’s an interesting thing because at that time [1953], we had three channels for television news, and they all started with the same set of facts. Now, that’s completely different. We have the President of the United States trying to say that our mail-in ballots could be fraudulent, which of course, is a felony. And there’s been something like nine [cases of fraud] of a mail-in ballot over the last 40 years. We’re just working with different sets of facts, and I worry about that, because it makes people very sure of themselves.”

Working with Felicity Jones, who turned up pregnant: “I was in the middle of Iceland, really miserable, and she goes ‘So, there’s news. I’m pregnant.’ I’m like ‘Great.’ And then I go, ‘Okay, that complicates things.’ She was so gung-ho. She wanted to do all the wirework. But I was like ‘No, we’re not putting anyone pregnant on a wire.’”

The Notebook story, which sounds like BS: He was going to work with Paul Newman, toward the end of his life. “We were going to do The Notebook together. Basically, I was going to play him as a young man, and it was funny. We met and said, ‘This is it. It’s going to be great.’” Subsequently, the actor went home, watched a number of Newman’s iconic films and got intimidated. “He’s one of the handsomest guys you’ve ever seen. We met up [again] and I said, ‘I can’t play you. I don’t look anything like you. This is insane.’ ‘We just wanted to do it because we wanted to work together, [but] it ended up being not the right thing for us to do.”

[From Deadline]

The Paul Newman story… I have no doubt that The Notebook, like many films, went through various casting choices, but I simply do not believe that George Clooney was considered for the Ryan Gosling role in The Notebook, nor do I believe that someone was like “Paul Newman looks like an aged Clooney.” No. None of that happened. Newman and Clooney looked NOTHING alike. At all. And George was way too old for The Notebook. Lord. As for the other stuff… I think about the difference in American media and how “conservative media” has ruined this country profoundly. McCarthyism would still be a thing if Fox News had been around at that time.

Amal Clooney and George Clooney are all smiles as they step out during their anniversary in NYC

Photos courtesy of WENN, Backgrid.

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7 Responses to “George Clooney: ‘The most patriotic thing…is to question your government’”

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  1. Seraphina says:

    The key to wisdom is this – constant and frequent questioning, for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth. Pierre Abelard

    I am not a Clooney fan so I am quoting the French theologian and poet.

  2. Sarah says:

    This is one of the (many) things which frightens me the most in 2020, the degree to which ‘patriotism’ is being used in various countries around the world to silence dissent with government. That does not end well.

  3. TIFFANY says:

    I believe the info about The Notebook. That is something that can easily be debunked and Clooney knows it. Dude has been at this for a long time.

    And Good Night and Good Luck is his best work as a director and I hope he goes back to that.

    And the quote about Felicity’s pregnancy. I read the full quote and I walked away liking him a little more as a behind the scenes guy.

    • Lady Baden-Baden says:

      Agree about the Notebook and also can’t imagine WHY he would lie about something like that. Clooney actually says the version he was going to make with Paul Newman was 10 years earlier than the Gosling version – the project had been knocking around Hwood for years – which would have made him early 30s. Not too old.

  4. Case says:

    He’s right. Too many people confuse patriotism with complacency. These are the folks that want to hang American flags from their cars, preach about the 2nd Amendment, and scream “USA! USA!” any time they get the chance, because ‘Merica.

    Real patriotism is constantly pushing your country to be better for all who live there.

  5. Alyse says:

    Agreed… I’m a Kiwi and we just elected Jacinda Ardern and her party (which is a good thing!)
    I know she is beloved by the world atm too.
    BUT her party has gone from Centre-Left to Centre in order to get the win, and they will need to be held accountable for their promises on fighting Child Poverty, the Housing Crisis & Climate Action now that they have a strong mandate.
    Which is why (though I wanted her to be PM) I voted for our Green Party. (Adding we are not a First Past The Post system, but MMP, so we have the privilege of voting for smaller parties and having it mean something)

  6. Kas says:

    Lainey had a good take on the Felicity Jones pregnancy story. George incorporated the pregnancy into the storyline and the film benefited from doing so. That’s how you work with women, not immediately recast like has happened to so many others.