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And then there’s George!

11/04/2008

Regular readers will know that Adam is very fond of the New Yorker magazine and of the cinema also.

This post allows him to combine the two.

The topic is an article on George Clooney.

Clooney is well aware of the need for “certain veneers you use to keep the room going.” Photograph by Martin Schoeller.

An extract from a considerable profile:-

“E.R.” was an immediate, spectacular hit. (“Forty-five million people a week—and now there are hits with twenty million people, sixteen million,” Clooney said.) To many of those millions, Clooney’s doe-eyed Doug Ross was a mesmerizing combination of sexual availability and professional maturity, of guy and man. As Clooney saw it, Ross was “the perfect character to have on TV. In the first show, I’m chasing chicks—a bunch of girls—I’m drunk, I don’t do my job particularly well, but at the end of it I stick up for a kid! You can’t do anything wrong in film and television if you go, ‘You touch that kid and I’ll kick your ass’; it’s a great set-you-free thing.” Clooney had further protected his position: Dr. Ross, as first written, was really no more than “a smarmy schmuck” in his dealings with women. At Clooney’s suggestion, the show’s producers allowed him to become a serious and energetic flirt—to have Ross “earnestly trying to pick them up—a guy who’s on the make, really on the make, not the one you can make fun of.”

Relax, enjoy and then think about this aspect covered later in the piece:-

He told me that he first paid attention to Darfur after reading Nicholas Kristof’s columns about the crisis in the Times; in early 2006, he spoke about Darfur with Barack Obama. (“I love that guy, I love him,” Clooney said of Obama, but he has not publicly campaigned, for fear of doing damage; he felt that his father’s campaign for Congress was undermined by “Hollywood versus the Heartland” rhetoric.) Early in 2006, Clooney discussed the idea of a trip to Darfur with his father, and Nick Clooney called David Pressman, a New York lawyer and former State Department official, who had just returned from Sudan. Pressman met George Clooney over dinner in New York—“I wanted to make sure the motivations were pure, and they are, there’s no doubt,” Pressman told me—and, within weeks, Pressman, the two Clooneys, and a cameraman had flown to Chad and to Sudan, although not to Darfur itself. One of Pressman’s clearest memories of Clooney on the trip is sitting with him on a tiny single-propeller plane, Clooney watching the pilot with rigid attention. Pressman asked him what he was doing; he replied, “I’m learning to fly.”

Clooney spoke at the Darfur rally in Washington, D.C., soon after he returned, and then, nervously, to a special meeting of the U.N. Security Council. Last year, with Jerry Weintraub, the producer of the “Ocean’s” films, and Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Don Cheadle, Clooney formed a non-profit focussed on Darfur, Not On Our Watch, which raised more than five million dollars in one night at the Cannes Film Festival. And in January of this year he returned to the region, joining a tour that had already been planned by Jane Holl Lute, a top U.N. peacekeeping official. With the understanding that there would be a future relationship between Clooney and U.N. peacekeepers, Lute recommended that the U.N. invite him to become a Messenger of Peace. (“Don’t I look like a prisoner?” Clooney asked, showing me his pale-blue paperwork, just before he left.) Lute, Clooney, Pressman, and a few others visited the Darfur region and elsewhere in Sudan, and also Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and India, on a fifteen-day journey that was, by all accounts, physically and emotionally wearing. Clooney called it “tricky.” He said, “It’s hard to explain, except to say there were very few times you thought it was safe. It keeps you up at night; and, more than that, you feel that the people around you, who are going to be there after you leave, are taking huge risks.”

Again read the article.

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