Friday, September 23, 2011

George Clooney Covers Parade Magazine September 2011

George Clooney is Parade's new issue cover star. The actor talks about turning 50, playing pranks, being a character actor and more. Scroll down for interview excerpts.

On his love of playing pranks
"There's good fun in watching those play out. And, hey, my friends are rough on me, too. Brad Pitt's brutal, and Matt Damon. My friends used to change my outgoing phone message all the time. This was the old days, when you had a phone machine. They would change the message to something horrible and there was nothing I could do to change it back. That was always brilliant."

On making the move to Hollywood
"The summer I was 21 I was cutting tobacco in Kentucky for a living, making $3 an hour. That's when you decide you've got to move to Hollywood. [Laughs] My cousin Miguel Ferrer and his father, Jose Ferrer, came to Kentucky to do a movie and they got me a job as an extra, at $20 a day, which is good money when you're 21. And then I think Miguel said, 'You ought to come out to Hollywood, be an actor.' And I was like, okay. I had an old beat-up Monte Carlo, it was running on about four cylinders, and I bought a case of oil and sort of nursed it from Kentucky to Los Angeles. I pulled up in the driveway of my Aunt Rosemary's house in Beverly Hills, this very rich place, and my car had rust all over it."

On his latest film, The Ides of March, where he plays an inspirational presidential candidate
"We were in preproduction on this film in 2007, before the Obama election. And then we realized that a good portion of the country was elated with what happened in that election, so we had to shelve the movie until people were cynical again. I didn't think it would be quite this quick [Laughs]."

On the appeal of The Ides of March outside America
"Everywhere it's played, they think it's got something to do with their politics. When I had to pitch this movie, I would say, 'Okay, here's why it's universal and not just an American film about delegate counts.' I pitched the idea of a morality tale. I often referenced ER, because when we first finished the pilot the network thought no one was going to get it. They thought no one would understand words like supraventricular tachyarrhythmia. But the characters were what sold it—that's what people cared about."

On the other fall film he stars in, The Descendants (in theaters Nov. 18)
"It's by a wonderful director named Alexander Payne [Election, About Schmidt, Sideways]. He's the real deal, somebody that I greatly admire as a director and as a man. It's a very funny, very sad movie about a man trying to come to terms with some mistakes he's made over his life, including not really paying attention to his kids. It deals with some tough issues, but it's got humor in it. What a boring day it would be without humor."

On continuing his public life and maintaining privacy at the same time
"I don't tweet, I don't go on Facebook. I think there's too much information about all of us out there. I'm liking the idea of privacy more and more. There will be funny things, like I'll read something I've said about a woman somewhere. And I haven't spoken about my relationships in 15 years."

On turning the Big 5-0 and what it means to his career
"I look at myself onscreen and go, 'I don't look like I did when I was 40—I know that.' The people I've respected most in the industry over the years—Paul Newman, for instance. I just loved the way he handled growing old onscreen. It's understanding that you're now basically a character actor. 

"I find that as you get older, you start to simplify things in general. By the time you get a subscription to AARP, which I just got, you have some idea of who your friends are, at least. [Getting the AARP subscription] shocked me—are you kidding? [Laughs] I told them they should do 'The Sexiest Man Still Alive.'"

On learning from his failures
"I had to stop going to auditions thinking, 'Oh, I hope they like me.' I had to go in thinking I was the answer to their problem. The greatest lesson I learned was that sometimes you have to fake it. And you have to be willing to fail." 

Courtesy of Parade

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