George Clooney on His Early Career and Losing ‘Thelma & Louise’ to Brad Pitt

"Nobody wants to hear anybody complain, so I don't do it. I don't believe in it."

In celebration of the actor George Clooney’s career milestones, and his contribution to the world of cinema at the Telluride Film Festival, The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy was able to reminisce with the silver medallion honoree about the days when Clooney finally realized that he was part of something huge, after landing a steady role in the medical series ER.

“People talk about numbers when you talk about American Idol or whatever the big one is — 16, 17 million people. We were averaging 40 million people at 10 o’clock at night with an hour show. That made a huge difference in my career. It really changed things.”

After making quite an impression on fans as Dr. Doug Ross of the series for over a decade, Clooney recalled his feelings of realizing that he had made the leap from a familiar face to an overnight sensation. “I remember that was a moment where I thought, ‘Things have changed.’ ”   “I was walking through the streets of New York half way through the first season of ER, and I’d been on a lot of TV shows so people would kind of recognize me, ‘It’s that guy from that thing,’ And I remember walking down the streets in Manhattan and them going, ‘Hey George,’ and they knew your name as opposed to your character.

Luckily for fans and the media, Clooney is not one for complaining.  “Nobody wants to hear anybody complain, so I don’t do it. I don’t believe in it.”  The seasoned actor does admit that it wasn’t an easy time.  “It did become very different, more complicated.”

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