Nothing like a lifetime achievement award to make someone, in this case George Clooney, think about the work he has and hasn’t done.
Before being honored by the Kennedy Center on Sunday, the 61-year-old star and director recalled seeing an image of “this gray-haired old man from the back” at the premiere of his film Ticket to heaven. She wondered who it could be, before realizing it was him.
It was a change from Clooney’s early roles in the 1980s when his good looks were to the fore as he appeared as a recurring character on popular sitcoms The facts of life And Rosanna.
“Honestly, I’ve been objectified,” he said Washington Post for a story published on Friday. “I remember shooting scenes on Rosanna and I would drop a clipboard and lean over, and everyone would slap me on the ass. You had to establish yourself as something more. … Good night and good luck he did it for me, in every sense of the word.”
Clooney directed, wrote, and starred in that 2005 film, set in the early days of broadcast television as CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow works to expose Senator Joseph McCarthy’s lies during his infamous hunt for Communists. The film, Clooney’s second to direct, was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay.
But it seems there may not be many other projects that require Everything of him. He wants to spend more time with his wife Amal, 44, and their 5-year-old twins, Ella and Alexander, while he’s young enough to enjoy it.
“Amal and I had these long conversations about my age,” she told the paper. “I said, ‘You know, I’m 61, I can still do most of the things I used to do. But in 20 years I’ll be 81 and things will be different… So these are the best years, the next 20 or 25 .’ I said, ‘Let’s make sure we live [life] in a different way.’ Which means I probably won’t direct unless it’s something I absolutely have to do. Acting in movies is an easy job. … I definitely get paid a lot more to do it, it’s a lot easier and I can still spend a lot more time with my family.”
She said that, for a while, she mistakenly thought she needed to work harder to have a full life.
“Amal turned things around for me, in a big way,” Clooney said of his wife of eight years. “Because now there was this incredible love, this incredible sense of family and these two kids, who are [something] which I really didn’t think I would ever do.”
The activist said he now needs to “make peace” with aging and “accept what those roles are,” as an actor and as a person.
In the first case, he observed that the late Paul Newman did what he aspired to.
“Newman was the best at it. He understood, [with] The verdict, honestly, that he was a character actor and he accepted that role,” Clooney said of the acclaimed 1982 film released when Newman was in his 50s. “He didn’t fight or push and try to get his face done or look younger and act younger. He just said, ‘OK, that’s who I am now,’ and he changed the expectations a little bit.”
That doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last of the gods Michael Clayton star in leading roles or as a director. Besides the title Ticket to heaventhe romantic comedy in which he and friend Julia Roberts play a divorced couple, in October he will direct the upcoming drama The boys on the boatwhich tells the underdog story of the University of Washington rowing team that won the gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.