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December 17, 2005

Pinch me, I saw George Clooney

Friday, December 16, 2005

Although I was having a pretty shitty day on Thursday a dream of mine did come true. OK ladies, get ready to hate me. I met George Clooney, well not met but was in the same room as him. First let me say he's #1 on my jump list. I used to have a calendar just of his photos.
Anyway George was speaking at NYU Journalism School about his biographical film on broadcast journalist Edward R Murrow, Good Night and Good Luck. It wasn't easy getting tickets either. I had to put my name in a raffle to be in the 100 person auditorium and luckily I got picked, phew. His Gal Friday helped organize the event and definitely got a more up close meeting than I.

Back to George. He came right into the room and said hello before sitting down and being introduced and was super friendly and conversational. His confident, but low-key charmer reminded me of his character from One Fine Day. He was dressed in a tight black turtle neck shirt with black blazer over it. He looked like he walked off of a magazine cover, he looked that good, just like he does in his films. I'm sorry I don't have any photos, photography wasn't allowed and my phone does not have a camera.

Oh by the way the screenwriter Grant Heslov and Murrow actor David Strathairn (River Wild, Dolores Claiborne) were in attendance and answering questions too.

Besides the film itself George talked about his father, newscaster Nick Clooney, as well as his own experience majoring in journalism before deciding on a career in TV and film. He said he wasn't meant to be a journalist because he had a problem listening to the people he interviewed since he was already planning his next question and going through the list of questions in his head. Much was my problem concentrating for the first 10 minutes of his 'Inside the Actors Studio' like Q&A. I tried taking notes but I simply stared at his handsome face ;)
Here is what I did manage to catch. So George who directed and co-wrote the screenplay said that they almost did the film as a live television series instead of a feature film. His father and himself always admired Murrow but decided on exploring it as a film topic once he saw what was going on with people's civil liberties post 9/11. What concerned him was the idea that the government was practically saying you're with us or your against us, which reminded him of another era--McCarthy and his black list time.
In regards to the political attacks that he's been getting due to his politically minded films. He said, "I can't say I believe in freedom of speech yet then say 'but don't talk about me.' That's alright though, I can handle it." He did clarify that he doesn't go around spouting out his political convictions but does not shy away from answering questions during interviews. He also said that he was surprised that the film wasn't as controversially received then he thought it would be, but then said a lot has changed in the last 6 months and Good Night and Good Luck is a historical piece not solely a political message or even the fictional based film Syriana that is also out now. He mentioned that O'Rielly gave the film a good review but said he could not recommend George Clooney as a commendable human being, lol. He laughed about it.

Speaking of his good humor, when someone's cell phone emitted a crazy ringtone while he was talking he called out "Telephone!" the second time another cell went off (grr) he pretended it was his own mobile and that his agent was calling him. He also admitted that he was surprised that Good Night and Good Luck is still doing well and then he joked accrediting it to it being in black and white, and all the ladies going to see his costar David Strathairn, plus the heavy sex scenes. ;) He also joked that the 7.5 million it cost to make the film was subsidized by FEMA, lol.
When asked if he was afraid of taking the risk of making a black and white historical film, to which he replied "The riskiest thing he could do would be to chicken shit out of doing what he wanted to do or make."

Then a woman directly behind me asked a question and it was like the see parted and he was staring right at me *sigh* No, I didn't ask a question, I had nothing to say and was too busy enjoying what I was hearing and taking down notes.

David Strathairn asked a good question to the journalism audience, could Murrow exist today? Can broadcast journalists speak out against the system without being a pundit or ostracized?
Overall it was an interesting discussion, George was incredibly friendly, personable and amazingly intelligent and articulate. If it's possible my esteem for him has soared to new heights, haha.

News: George Goes Back to J-School.
Lecture: George Clooney

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