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