When George Clooney returned to LA a couple of weeks ago after the COVID situation in Australia shut down production on his latest film, Ticket to Paradise, I wrote that it could be an opportunity to campaign behind the scenes for Ben Affleck’s performance in The Tender Bar. Indeed that seems to be what George is doing. 


Oscar nomination voting began last Thursday and ends tomorrow and Deadline published a new interview with George on Friday, opening with The Tender Bar’s stats on Amazon Prime – apparently it’s now in their top ten movie releases of all time and was #1 when it first started streaming on the service. Ben received a SAG nomination for his work in the film and George calls the movie a “real showcase for Ben”: 

“Ben’s been through the ringer. He’s been as high as you could get. He stood on the stage and won a couple of Oscars. He knows what it’s like to be at the top of the game, and he also has had some rough patches. Some of them, as he has said many times, self-inflicted, but he’s a fighter, and he’s been out there, and he showed up on this one in such a big way and in such a gracious way, and he’s been doing it for a bit, and it’s fun to see the reactions towards him, and it’d be lovely if the same sort of attention was carried on [to the Oscars]. I think he would deserve it.”

I’m not saying George’s efforts will make all the difference, but this kind of endorsement certainly doesn’t hurt, especially among the Oscar Academy’s actors’ branch. He’s definitely not in most of the expert predictors’ top five right now in the supporting actor category but they also weren’t predicting him to come through with a SAG nomination either, which gave his campaign a boost. Curious to know how much activity is going on behind the scenes in his support – and of course whether or not it actually pays off. Oscar nominations will be announced a week tomorrow on February 8. 


After throwing his support behind Ben, George’s Deadline interview then moved on to working with Julia Roberts on Ticket to Paradise. They play exes trying to stop their daughter’s wedding. They haven’t even finished filming and George is already selling the sh-t out of it. 

“Well, this one is something special. This guy named Ol Parker is a really wonderful writer and director, and he wrote us a script, and I haven’t done a romantic comedy really since One Fine Day, and more than that. I’ve done some sort of snarky ones, you know, and in this one Julia and I just get to be mean to each other in the funniest way, and the minute I read it I called Julia, and I said, ‘Did you get this?’ and she said, ‘Yeah,’ and I said ‘Are you going to do it?’ and she goes ‘Are you going to do it? and I said, ‘Yeah, if you do it.’ So, it was just one of those very lucky things.” 

He's right – he hasn’t done a rom-com in a long time, and George is pretty selective now about the work he takes on. On the professional side, he generally has good taste. On the personal side, he has young children, and while he could work non-stop if he wanted to, there’s definitely been an intentional slowdown, which means that when he does commit to something, he’s decided that it’s worth his time. And speaking of time… 


The way he’s talking about Ticket to Paradise, he wants to give it the full movie star treatment. The movie is scheduled for an October release: 

“We only have a few days left, and he’s been cutting [director Ol Parker, that is], so he’ll be able to finish. We want to take it out a little bit earlier. Maybe we can take it to Venice or something, not in competition, but just because it’s sort of an old-fashioned film like that.”

Wouldn’t be surprised if the director of the Venice Film Festival called George not even five minutes after reading this interview. The prospect of George and Julia on the Lido? Please. They’ll schedule the festival around them. If I were the organisers at the Toronto International Film Festival I’d be throwing a TIFF bid in there too. 


And finally, just to round all the movie stars in this post about movie stars – it was announced last October that George and Brad Pitt would be collaborating on a new movie about “two lone wolf fixers assigned to the same job”. Like Mr & Mrs Smith without the romance? Apple won the rights to the movie and George told Deadline that he and Brad took less money in negotiations to secure a theatrical release. The last of the movie stars fighting to be seen in the house of the movie star – the movie theatre. But does he mean they took less money, period, or less money UP FRONT for a percentage of the back end? That’s an interesting gamble: movie stars betting on their own movie stardom viability.

Head to Deadline to read the full interview with George Clooney.