George Clooney on Character Roles and Aging as an Actor

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“The reason I got into directing and writing and producing 35 years ago was because I knew at some point I don’t want to be worried about what some casting director thinks of me…” – George Clooney

At the end of last year Netflix released The Midnight Sky, a Netflix sci-fi film starring George Clooney (who also directed) about a scientist seemingly left alone on earth at an Arctic facility after a nuclear war ravages the earth. Not only is The Midnight Sky the first film directed by Clooney since 2017’s Surburbicon, but Clooney has not starred in a film since 2016, when he appeared in Money Monster and Hail, Caesar!

Clooney spoke to the Associated Press about why he took a break from film (aside from perhaps the most obvious reason – his wife gave birth to twins in 2017). He points out that as an actor nearing sixty, he is now gearing toward a different caliber of roles. He explains:

“Things change for you as an actor. The roles that are brought to you become very different. I was doing an interview the other day and they asked if this was the way my career is going to be going, playing more character actor roles. I was like, well, I didn’t want to. (Laughs) But I’m almost 60 years old. That’s how it works. I focus on actors who I admired greatly and how they handled their career. (Paul) Newman, who was a very good friend of mine, by the time he was in his mid-’50s, he’s doing The Verdict, which is a character-actor piece. Even though he was a giant movie star, one of greats of all time, he was developing as he grew older the character-actor pieces he found interesting, that demanded less of him.

… But there’s only a couple ways you can go if you’re a person in my shoes. You can try to deny your aging. You can dye your hair and get a face lift and try to still be the guy who gets the girl in the movies. Or you can accept that you’re getting older and be that guy. The reason I got into directing and writing and producing 35 years ago was because I knew at some point I don’t want to be worried about what some casting director thinks of me at — I used to say 60 but I’ll move it to 65 now.”

(via Sentinel)

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