George Clooney remembers the time that Boris Johnson compared him to Hitler

clooney guardian

I appreciate the fact that George Clooney is doing a lot of press for The Midnight Sky. George has always been a throwback to another era, and that includes his media strategy. Even though everyone is still in some state of lockdown, he’s still figuring out a way to blanket the media with his promotion. He covers the Guardian’s weekend magazine, The Observer Magazine, and he chatted with them about falling for Amal, their kids, and lots of other stuff. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

His kids are learning to ride bikes: “Put it this way… The idea of them falling is not my favourite thing. And I try to give ’em enough room to make their mistakes. There’s a lot of things you try not to do that your own parents did. Not because your parents were bad parents. But because you can see the way it has affected you… You’re trying to break the chain, man.”

Alexander has asthma: “This has been a crappy year for everyone. Started badly and ran badly all year long, until recently… But I’m very lucky. I ended up having a successful career. I wound up living in a home with some space in it. We can walk around outside.” They haven’t left the compound much since March, Clooney says, because “my son has asthma. They say it’s not so bad on young people. But do we know that? We don’t know anything about the longterm of this yet.”

His political work: “I just feel like, with kids this age, having young children in a period of time when there’s all this craziness, I wanna make sure I can say, ‘These are the things we did to stand against this moment in history.’ Not just to make them proud. But to make their world better.”

He plays a lot of crooks: “I’ve been a crook in almost everything good I’ve ever done. Out of Sight [1998], crook. The Ocean’s 11 trilogy [2001, 2004, 2007], crook. In Michael Clayton [2007] I was a crook.”

Going on his first dates with Amal while he promoted The Monuments Men: During promotion, Clooney had mentioned a belief that the United Kingdom might return the Parthenon marbles to Greece. “And that was when your current prime minister compared me to Adolf Hitler. Boris Johnson. Literally compared me to Hitler.” Clooney doesn’t often let the measured, cool-bean persona slip – but now he giggles like a schoolboy, reddening, properly amused. “It still makes me laugh. Bit of a stretch. But he said my comments about the Marbles made me an art thief like Hitler was an art thief…. It was kind of great for me! Because Amal and I were secretly dating at the time. No one knew. There was all this uproar about what I’d said. And I was meeting Amal for dinner that night.” By coincidence, she had been hired as a lawyer to advocate on Greece’s behalf for the return of the Marbles. “She goes to me, ‘Y’know I’ve worked on that case? So listen. Here’s a lot of stuff you should say.’ She told me about Unesco rulings. Gave me all this info.” Next time Clooney spoke about the matter in public, hoping to settle Johnson’s hash, “I was just loaded with facts. Fantastic!”

He used to see Donald Trump on the New York party circuit. “I knew him as the guy who was, like, ‘Hey, what’s that cocktail waitress’s name? Is she single?’ That’s all he was. Literally that’s all he was. And to see that become president, it felt as though the world had gone crazy.” Now, he says, as the page turns to president-elect Joe Biden, “The hope starts. After four years of some pretty insane stuff coming out of the United States, there is some normalcy.”

A crappy year: “It’s been a crappy year. It has. But we’re gonna get through it. I believe that with my whole heart. If I didn’t believe that I don’t know how we’d raise kids in this world. We’re gonna get through these things and my hope and my belief is that we will come out better.”

[From The Guardian]

I actually remember the thing with Clooney talking about the Elgin Marbles, God that was so long ago. It was a major kerfuffle in the UK at the time, and George was soundly bashed by various British government officials for, you know, daring to say that the British Museum should actually return a lot of the stuff which was stolen/looted from other countries.

As for the rest of it… George sounds more content than I would expect. It’s still a little bit crazy to me that he really went full “family man” with so little drama.

Amal Clooney and George Clooney walk arm-in-arm after a law benefit in NYC

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

30 Responses to “George Clooney remembers the time that Boris Johnson compared him to Hitler”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Amy Bee says:

    A bit rich for Boris Johnson to call George Clooney an art thief when the British stole the Elgin Marbles from Greece.

  2. Isa says:

    Boris Johnson is such a freaking pathetic joke. The worst of the English establishment and they’ve made him PM. Own goal.

  3. Snazzy says:

    I can’t help it – George is one of my forever crushes

    • PixiePaperdroll says:

      Yes! He is always one of the three things I’d take to a desert island.

    • Eleonor says:

      I saw him in a couple of interview, and I have to admit: he is CHARMING AF, he is polite, funny and now I have a crush too!

      • I live in a hovel nearish his house and have heard from every house worker (Roof people, alarm people, housekeepers, etc) that not only is he THE NICEST and most down to earth man, but that he does all the work on the house he has owned for over 20 years, and he lets them in, not a house manager like most stars have. I have also never heard a backstage person (They have the best gossip of ALL) say a bad word about him. I’m telling you, that is UNUSUAL! I’d say he’s eminently crush worthy.

  4. Snuffles says:

    What would England and the Royal Family be if they were stripped of everything they stole, pilfered and pillaged? From the artifacts to the jewelry to the land and properties?

    They might be finding out in the coming decades!

    • L4frimaire says:

      I was at the Parthenon museum in summer 2019, and our guide was very passionate about their antiquities being returned. She said the marbles were clearly looted, even back then in 19thC. it was considered theft, like Elgin’s workmen were literally digging them out of the friezes and boxing them up for shipment. Also, the Greeks designed and built the museum to meet certain criteria the British were arguing about why they couldn’t return the artwork. Also the position of the exhibits mirror the position of the actual Parthenon and where they would go once returned. This issue hasn’t been resolved, and it’s so ironic Boris comparing Clooney to Hitler, considering that the Nazis looted so much art, just like the British empire did, with impunity.

      • schmootc says:

        Totally negates the whole we’re saving them for posterity argument. Yeah, no, you guys are assholes. Apart from it being a particularly big prize, I think the other issue is if we give those back, what else do we have to return?

    • Nana says:

      For similar reasons, I marvel at English anti immigration nationalists/nazi’s… They don’t see the irony of literally centuries of invading other countries like mine (Australia), massacring the first peoples, taking land, destroying habitat, pilfering important artefacts, crushing complex social structures, preventing language being spoken and culture being passed on, taking children away…. and yet bitterly, violently objecting about immigration levels in England pfft. Of course England isn’t the only offender… So many European and American museums (and private “collectors”/pilferers) just as guilty.

  5. Leah says:

    Remind me again how many of the worlds treasures have ended up in British museums.

    I remember reading about the sack of the Forbidden City by British and American troops after the boxer rebellion. They basically stuffed antiques into their pockets and then sold the booty off at an auction. I recall how one of them described watching a fellow solider stuff a fragile gold leaf vase into his uniform, just folded it up and stuffed it on down.

    • BeanieBean says:

      I’m going to have to read that, although it may raise my blood pressure….

    • Flffgrrrlr says:

      Did you listen to the recent season of Revisionist History? Malcolm Gladwell says museums are basically dragons – they just acquire and acquire and hoard more and more treasure – more than they can possibly show. And then eg seek to put a big entry fee because they’re out of cash (think it was MOMA with the fee). It was a good listen.

  6. Peet33 says:

    George Clooney is always a great interview & you just KNOW he’d be a great host & a fun guy to shoot the shit with. Boris Johnson on the other hand (speaking as a Brit) is a total fucking embarrassment.

    • Snuffles says:

      Yes, I’m sure he’s an excellent host and dinner guest. The conversation would be sparkling!

    • Sandra says:

      Peet33, Check, and raise you one Donald Trump! Lol

      • Nana says:

        And don’t feel too bad – in Australia, we have mini Boris/Trump lite wannabe, Scott Morrison, the buffooniest of the buffoons, who does the best disappearing acts in crises ever. But the best at turning up to spin empty marketing lines & get great headlines in the Murdoch dominated press during election campaigns.

    • Alexandrajane says:

      Could you imagine the world wide spot light on the clown if there wasn’t trump? He makes me feel so sad and full of dispair for our country

  7. Stacy Dresden says:

    Amal is so much more than the typical actor’s wife. I am glad they seem to be going strong.

  8. manda says:

    This is just a tiny bit of the article, but came here to say–watch Michael Clayton if/when you get the chance, it is so good! Tilda Swinton is in it as a very anxious corporate lawyer willing to do anything to win. Tom Wilkinson is a brilliant attorney going through a psychotic break. It’s about a class action lawsuit against a chemical company. I wish I knew how to make it sound as good as it is. I literally watch it anytime I come across it

    • L4frimaire says:

      It was such a good movie. Structured so well. Tilda is so good a playing these oddball villains who seem harmless at first, but so coldly ruthless.

  9. Kyla says:

    Ummmm, “ “I knew him as the guy who was, like, ‘Hey, what’s that cocktail waitress’s name? Is she single?’

    That also applies to George himself a few years ago when he had a regular award season new girlfriend each year, one of which was in fact a cocktail waitress.

    • Bettyrose says:

      True. And if George Clooney ever runs for office as the representative of evangelical America as a ruse to give massive tax cuts to his rich friends, we can bring up his party boy days.

  10. Jumpingthesnark says:

    That photo of Clooney….. fanning myself. Back in the ER days I thought he was hot hot hot! He went through a period where he looked strained a lot, I think that was when he was having a lot of problems with chronic back pain. I hope that issue was fixed or improved. Looks way more relaxed now.

  11. BnLurkN4eva says:

    I read somewhere that Warren Beatty did the same thing when he altered course with Annette Bening and just settled down after being wild. I think some men just wake up and get tired of their wild ways and just decide on some version of normal. George wasn’t going to ever marry again and he wasn’t ever going to have children and he ensured all of that by seemingly having contractual relationships and then one day he just altered course like Beatty did.

    I appreciate a lot of what he stands for and while sometime it appears performative, I think at that level when doing certain thinks, it almost has to be performative to be effective. I hope we are in for better times and I hope the last four years is the turning point towards a more just future world.

    • windyriver says:

      No matter how active George Clooney was in his bachelor days, he doesn’t come close to Warren Beatty in the reportedly sheer quantity and ‘quality’ (actor costars, well known musicians, famous models) of the women in his love life. Maybe it also had to do with the times; Beatty is 20+ years older than Clooney, and was most active in the 1960’s and 70’s, through the 1980’s. Maybe he ran out of well-known partners.

      But I agree with your premise – no way I ever thought Beatty would settle down in an apparently contented 30 year marriage with four kids. Looks like Clooney was struck by Amal in the same way, and was also, just ready, even if he didn’t know it!

  12. Cava24 says:

    I think the shift towards the family man stuff has to do with a bunch of things- he absolutely ran the clock out on chasing random 20 to 35 year olds around and he was at an age where that starts to look embarrassing (he is very image conscious); his back pain was such that he sort of needed someone to look after him a bit; Amal’s job can be done remotely so she can be wherever he is 90% of the time and when she is off somewhere he gets to tell everyone she is defending human rights, not hosting some Super Bowl adjacent party or whatever; it is less important to him that his partner fit in with his friend group than it used to be and Amal is very comfortable doing the super glam thing at events.

    It really bothered me the way he and his family dragged his exes as “not being at his level” when he met Amal, it was disparaging and misogynistic and kind of showed who he actually is/was and what he thought of those women when they were dating him.

    Somewhere-it might be the Vogue cover story he did with Gisele- he talked about how he hired women to work at his production company because “you can pay them a little less.” He also made an insane amount of homophobic comments over the years, it amazes me how effectively he has whitewashed all of that. One of his closest friends is Les Moonves from CBS who assaulted a number of women while at CBS and destroyed the careers of others who wouldn’t do whatever it was he wanted. He also defended Rande Gerber when he was accused of sexually harassing his employees (I would hazard a guess that is not entirely over with, there may be more that comes out, this was all pretty #Metoo).
    George pivoted to better positions on this stuff recently because he had to, not because he had some moral come-to-Jesus moment,

  13. E.D says:

    Anyone else watch The Midnight Sky on Netflix?
    I really enjoyed it and thought it was beautifully shot and directed.
    I loved how awful/ill George looked in the movie too.
    You definitely can’t put him down in the ‘too vain’ to play ugly category.