TV endeavours of the 60s — not forgetting cathartic bouts of international espionage — to the game show successes of the 70s. which included formative reality-TV exploits The Dating Game (the foundation of our beloved Blind Date). The Newlywed Game. The Gong Show. The $1.98 Beauty Pageant and other such inane outpourings of an erratic mind.
If the success of C(nt/essions lay in Clooney“s ability to depict an unbelievable storyline in a tangible. accessible way. then joint responsibility for pulling off this undoable filmic feat fell on the shoulders of Sam Rockwell to portray the character convincingly. Needless to say he did. and it earned him the Silver Bear best actor award at this year‘s Berlin Film Festival. ‘lt‘s a phenomenal performance.‘ enthuses Clooney. ‘especially when you see Chuck Barris and know what a great impersonation it was. We used footage in the film that’s actual footage of the real Chuck Barris and you can‘t tell the difference. That‘s how good it is.‘
Sam Rockwell is equally approving of Clooney"s faithfulness. ‘There were some scenes in the 60s where George thought the extras' pants were too long — in America the style was more high-water.’ He demonstrates. lifting his trews to a dangerous sock-skimming level. ‘So George had them take all the pants up. Every little detail was important to him. And it's accurate. and accuracy is authenticity and authenticity translates into something original and artistic.‘
Originality and artistic quality are the very foundations upon which George Clooney and buddy Steven Soderbergh have fostered their ﬁlm production baby. Section Eight. The company has already spawned gangster heist Ocean '3' Eleven. Christopher Nolan‘s Insomnia. Welcome to Collinwoorl. in which C looney first worked with Rockwell. Farfrom Heaven. Confessions and Solaris.
Despite the varying fortunes of the offspring (in his own words. Solaris ‘tanked‘ in the US). Clooney sees the future in diversity. ‘If you‘re going to make films which polarise people. which is what Solaris does. you have to expect it not to always do well. ()at of Sight is a really good film and it bombed at the box office. Three Kings barely made its money back and it’s a really good film. 0 Brother where art Thou." made marginal money. not great money. And then. years later. people go: “God. l really liked that film; that ﬁlm really holds up." So my job is to keep making films that will last longer than an opening weekend and hope that it will all shake out later on. and people will look back and realise there's some seminal films in there.‘
A script is in place for the sequel to Ocean's Eleven. appropriately entitled Ocean‘s Twelve. Filming will begin in Europe early next year. the original cast have pledged support (vowing to take even less money than before). and Clooney coyly informs me there will be an additional thief. but won't be drawn on his or her identity.
18 THE LIST 2? Feb—13 Mar 2003
filming on the continent should give (‘looney more time to kick back and relax. lle's most animated. almost singing. when he mentions his new house in Italy. right on the banks of Lake Como. ‘l'm going to put in a post—production house for myself and my friends to go there and do editing. “by not do it in ltaly".’ Why not do it where you can just eat and get fat."
Fat chance. but he sounds like he would benefit from the rest. "I‘m in that place now where I thought I had to be. I thought if 1 actually bought a house someplace I had to go to. it would force me to take a vacation and stop for a minute. I'm making a lot of films and I've been working very hard. but I need to recharge a little bit. l'm beat. I'm tired. I’ve been running fora couple of years and l w ant to catch my breath.‘
Last year Clooney also got back with the (‘oen Brothers for Intolerable ('rtielty'. in which he plays an unscrupulous divorce lawyer who falls in love with Catherine Zeta Jones. t'l loved loved! - working with her . . . we went down to this (‘hinese restaurant and just sat there and got hammered and laughed.'l And fittingly. Clooney said feedback from directors he's worked with in the past made directing ('on/evsions worthwhile. ‘My favourite directors who I stole shots from in the movie — Sidney Lumet and Mike Nichols. people like that ~~ wrote me great. great letters. And having Soderbergh and Joel and Ethan Coen coming over and saying: "How did you know how to do that?" That's fun.’
George. ifl can call him that. is a laid—back kinda guy. He's properly lovely and utterly genuine. And his personality comes across in ('(nr/essions. livery scene is lusuriated over. nothing is rushed. livery shot is timed to perfection. It possesses a certain class. you might say.
‘l'm a fan of films from the ()()s and 7()s.' he says. "They weren't movies. they were films. They took their time: they didn‘t answer all of the questions. They left conversation on the way out of the theatre and there was a richness to them that I don‘t see anymore. I see a lot of over-produced things. I see things that look like they’ve been put through a tumbler and all the edges have come oli‘. I like those edges. 1 like the idea that there‘s a feeling of life going on. So I try to keep that aesthetic.‘
They say aesthetic is a subjective notion. Not where George Clooney is concerned. He‘s a good guy. maybe the best. A real trooper.
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind goes on general release from Fri 21 Mar.
We have 100 tickets for the opening night of Solaris in
Glasgow and Edinburgh, and another 100 for an exclusive preview of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, again in both cities. See Blag Bag for details, page 11.
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