George Clooney on ‘The Midnight Sky’ and Donald Trump


The filmmaker in actor mode with Caoilinn Springall for “The Midnight Sky.”

George Clooney‘s new movie is on Netflix, but the actor-director says theaters won’t go away and Hollywood will be fine. He’s not so sure about Washington.Here is a brief excerpt from an interview of him by Here is a brief excerpt from an interview of him by The New York Times.

In the Zoom era, the room behind you can really tell a story, and so it goes with George Clooney. On a recent video call to talk about his new Netflix movie, “The Midnight Sky,” Clooney gestured to the living room shelves behind him, which had been hastily stocked with books and booze.

“This is all I got left, man!” Clooney said with the mock frustration of a father ceding the kingdom to his children. “They took the office and they made it a playroom, then they took the bar and they made it a nursery.”

Clooney has spent the past several months quarantining in Los Angeles with his lawyer wife, Amal, and their 3-year-old twins, Ella and Alexander, while also putting the finishing touches on “The Midnight Sky,” which he directed and stars in. In that sci-fi drama, Clooney plays a scientist struggling to warn space-faring astronauts that Earth has been ravaged by an unspecified catastrophe.

In the time since Clooney finished shooting the film earlier this year, our Earth hasn’t been doing so hot, either. In a wide-ranging interview, we spoke about the global pandemic, Hollywood’s new streaming era and the outgoing president, whom Clooney used to encounter in New York back when “he was just a dog chasing girls.”

These are edited excerpts from our conversation.

It’s been four and a half years since you last starred in a movie, and a lot has changed when it comes to streaming services: Your film is coming out on Netflix, and Warner Bros. just moved its entire theatrical slate for 2021 to HBO Max. What do you make of a move like that?

It feels like a decision from AT&T [Warner Bros.’ parent company], which is not a film company. I mean, I was at Warner Bros. for 20 years and under contract with them — it was a real star-friendly studio. It feels like all they’re trying to do is get HBO Max going, because you’re not going to recoup on movies like “Dune” that are designed to make a billion. I always figured the windows were going to get tighter as we moved forward, but this is a little crazy. But I think it’s going to be fine. I really do.

You do? Convince me.

People want to get out of their house — I got twins, man! And it’s still a great way to ask somebody out. Comedies are great in cinemas, scary movies are great in cinemas. So I don’t see it completely going away.

With box office out of the equation, and a streaming service that doesn’t necessarily report viewership numbers, how will you decide if “The Midnight Sky” is a success?

You’re right, that is a big difference. Maybe it’s good; I’ve had a lot of flops. Look, I’ll be 60 this year, and I get to be on a set with people I adore and work in a profession that I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to do. So I guess that’s sort of the victory in the whole thing. I didn’t have it for the early part of my life — I did jobs I hated and lived for the weekend.

Your character in “The Midnight Sky” is focused on his career to the exclusion of love and family. Was that ever you?

Yeah, but I hadn’t found the person that filled everything up for me, that would have made me fully in love. I dated a lot of really terrific women, but Amal showed up and suddenly it was like, “Well, this is different on every level for me.” I don’t think I was actively saying, “I’m just going to work on my career and I’m not going to have a wife.” That was the story that got told about me, but it wasn’t really the reality.

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Here is a direct link to the complete interview.

Kyle Buchanan, a Los Angeles-based pop culture reporter, writes The Projectionist column. He was previously a senior editor at Vulture, New York Magazine’s entertainment website, where he covered the movie industry. @kylebuchanan

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