Enough people have picked up on this one both off screen (see the Photos section) and on screen (the short and some of my past roles) that I might as well acknowledge it. While I’m just another branch off Stella Adler’s ‘Method’ tree, and my social consciousness started with Malcolm, there are also multiple direct and indirect ways I can point to my respect of George Clooney.
He’s played Batman, shall we start there? And wasn’t the reason that film nearly killed off the franchise, he just couldn’t save it. He co-starred with J.Lo at her absolute APEX (I knew more than a few of my college buddies are nodding their heads right now, remembering Out of Sight). And he walked into a personal irritant of mine (trying to remake an already good movie) and nailed it. Ocean’s 11, anyone?
This also falls under the overall concept of image, but Clooney is also a throwback style wise. He was never a thirtysomething (now a fortysomething) trying to pass himself off as a 20 year old cool kid. He found his cool as a grown ass man, and man did he run with it! Part of being self-assured, he doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously. Especially in comedies, there’s always that vibe of “I’m not the guy curing cancer or AIDS, I’m not bringing peace to the Middle East. I’m an actor, and I’m having fun doing it.”
- The Writer/Director
Two films as a director: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is based on the autobiography of Chuck Barris. The same Chuck Barris who hosted The Gong Show and created The Newlywed Game and The Dating Game claims to have been a covert assassin for the CIA in his spare time. Well, OK. Clooney takes on a supporting role in this good, not great film. It wasn’t a blockbuster at the box office, but most critics agreed he did fine for his directorial debut.
His second film was Good Night and Good Luck, a look at Edward R. Murrow’s televised attacks on Senator Joseph McCarthy. Clooney once again took a supporting role in another film based at least in part on television in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Coincidence? Hardly. Clooney’s aunt is Rosemary Clooney, a popular singer in her day; his father’s career was in television also. The lesson: choose material you’re comfortable with. Good Night and Good Luck become one of the year’s critical hits, and Clooney became the first person to be nominated for directing one film and acting in another (his win for Syriana).
- The Activist
Clooney was a low key celeb supporter in Obama’s presidential run; the cause he’s most known for is Darfur. Along with Don Cheadle, his vocal support for the region has helped shine a spotlight on a part of Africa that I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t know about. Their efforts have been recognized by both the United Nations and the Nobel Peace Prize committee.
- The Brand
Intelligent without being overly preachy. Stylish without being a complete fashion snob. A serious artist with a rep for not taking himself too seriously. A public figure willing to use his spotlight to draw attention to a cause he believes in.
I’ve followed in worse footsteps…