Screen Test: George Clooney

The stellar actor opens up about his upcoming film The Monuments Men, Hitler's art collection and his cinematic crush.

Released on 12/2/2013

Credits

Starring: George Clooney
Editor: Lynn Hirschberg

Transcript

00:03
When I was a kid, I was in love with Audrey Hepburn.
00:06
Watching her in Roman Holiday, I think I was ten or eleven,
00:09
and I just thought she was as elegant as anything
00:12
I'd ever seen.
00:13
I always loved Grace Kelly, too, from To Catch a Thief.
00:16
I mean, when she comes out of the water,
00:17
in To Catch a Thief, I mean, you just go,
00:19
oh, that's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen.
00:22
I grew in the Catholic church, so there were always
00:25
these very religious iconic pieces that you'd see
00:30
just in your local churches,
00:32
and they were very big parts of our lives,
00:34
the cross and the altar.
00:36
When I was about ten years old, we went
00:38
to Washington, D.C. and the Lincoln Memorial was the one.
00:42
I remember just walking up those stairs,
00:43
and looking at this carved piece of marble
00:46
that had nothing to do with a carved piece of marble.
00:50
When people lose their culture,
00:51
then they start to lose their sense of identity.
00:54
The name of the movie is The Monuments Men.
00:56
We tend to like to do very cynical films
00:58
because we find them more interesting,
01:01
but we felt like we wanted to do one that was
01:04
the good guys win and you're fightin the ultimate bad guy.
01:09
We've been doing World War II movies since World War II,
01:11
and the reason is because you have the greatest bad guy
01:14
in film history.
01:15
But the stories have been told so much
01:17
that you're runnin out of stories.
01:18
But this was a story nobody had heard.
01:20
It's the greatest art heist in the history of the world.
01:22
Hitler designed the Fuhrermuseum,
01:24
put a model of it, actually, in the bunker with him.
01:27
He wanted to steal all of the art, all of the great art,
01:30
in the world.
01:31
He stole five million pieces of art.
01:32
He also destroyed pieces that they would call
01:35
degenerate art, which was anything that didn't have
01:39
colors that you would find, actually, in reality.
01:42
What he was doing was stealing these cultures
01:44
so that they could never come back.
01:46
He was gonna own them all, put them all in his museum,
01:49
and rule the world.
01:51
He would have gotten away with it had he not lost the war.
01:54
He was a failed artist in Vienna.
01:56
There were three artists studying there,
01:58
and the other two were kept and he was let go.
02:03
We actually in the film, we show a couple
02:04
of his watercolors, and it's an interesting thing
02:07
because you wish he was just a little bit better
02:09
at painting.
02:10
There would have been a lot more people left alive.
02:12
I'll tell you, it's a funny thing.
02:13
You could go to a Capra film, for instance,
02:15
and watch the end of It's a Wonderful Life.
02:17
You cannot end a movie that way any more.
02:19
If you made that movie today, Lionel Barrymore, the bad guy,
02:22
would have to be hauled away in handcuffs,
02:25
but he doesn't, and then we just forget about him
02:27
because Capra's version of ending that film
02:30
was living well is the best revenge.
02:32
You couldn't end Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
02:34
the way they end it.
02:36
I've showed that to young kids, who just love the movie,
02:40
and love the movie, and then this freeze-frame
02:42
with them getting shot,
02:45
and they're all like, No, no.
02:47
There's a lot of movies like that,
02:49
particularly films from the late 60s and mid-70s
02:51
that you just couldn't end em like that,
02:53
and that's why we love them
02:54
because they broke all the rules.
02:56
I actually like working by myself.
02:58
Really, most of the time, I only work by myself.
03:00
We were talking about the film Gravity,
03:02
and Alfonso directing it.
03:04
You are alone, you've got Alfonso Cuaron in your ear,
03:08
inside this bubble, and you're spinning around
03:11
on this giant machine, and then
03:13
there's a camera spinning around that.
03:15
So you're constantly in motion.
03:17
The trickiest part was learning to speak quickly
03:21
but move 50 percent slower because you have to be in space
03:25
and you can't move.
03:26
It's a trick to be able to talk at the same thing
03:29
and move and do all of these actions slower.
03:31
My career has been a lot of base hits and doubles,
03:35
not a lot of triples and home runs,
03:37
but I don't mind that.
03:38
I like that.
03:39
It's a good place to be.
03:40
You gotta try and get on base, you know.