Six Things I Learned About George Clooney at the Telluride Film Festival
1. George Clooney loves being a movie star. Not that I’ve met tons of stars, but after going to the Telluride Film Festival for over ten years, I have seen my share of them. No one wears “movie star” like George Clooney. He loves people, enjoys shaking hands, posing for pictures and is totally comfortable walking around Telluride’s downtown farmer’s market buying vegetables. This year the Telluride Film Festival did a tribute to George Clooney in the packed-to-the-gills Palm Theater (seats 600 people) and I was lucky to be in the audience. Usually the star being honored is secretly ushered up to the stage by the star’s “handlers” after the lights have been turned down. Then the star appears on stage. Not George Clooney. While the lights are still up, he comes waltzing down the center aisle and yells out “I’m here!” We all laughed–he charmed the whole town.
2. George Clooney will (in my humble and accurate opinion) be nominated as Best Actor for his role in The Descendants (written by the same writer-director who won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the movie Sideways–that was the funny drunk fest movie set in the Santa Barbara wine country). George is so good in The Descendants (movie due to come out this fall) that I am predicting he will win the Best Actor Oscar.
3. George Clooney regrets doing Batman and Robin. Whenever he mentioned the movie Batman and Robin, it was in a context of “I’m embarrassed that I did that.”
4. George Clooney is funny. He told stories about his childhood. He once worked as a chauffeur for his famous aunt, Rosemary Clooney. While driving Rosemary Clooney, Helen O’Connell and Martha Raye home after one of their shows (or actually after the party after one of their shows), Martha Raye said she had to go to the bathroom. So George pulled over. Martha Raye opened the door, stepped out of the car, spread her legs and peed on the curb.
5. George Clooney uses the “f” word quite often. On stage after the showing of his new movie The Descendants someone in the audience asked him about the fantastic little girl who plays Scottie, his youngest daughter in the film. How much acting experience had she had? He tells the funny story about this being her very first movie. He said you can tell because “during the scene where she and I are eating ice cream she actually ate the ice cream during each take and there were about ten takes. The next day she couldn’t come to work because she was sick.” George Clooney then went on to say that in the scene where Scottie is crying, she is crying real tears. The director said to try to cry when you’re saying your lines and once the camera rolled the tears started flowing, she nailed the scene and as soon as they said “Cut,” she was back to her normal happy self. At which point George Clooney said to us, the audience, “All I could think of was F*** her for being such a natural actress.”
6. And the final thing I learned about George Clooney at the Telluride Film Festival, is that he has a great handshake. (See George and me below.)