Exclusive: George Clooney is awash in Oscar buzz right now, for both "The Ides of March" (which he directed and stars in) and "The Descendants" (in which he stars). So is he excited? Not really. “I’ve been in and out of buzz so many times,” he says, “I’ve learned not to pay attention.”
In fact, Clooney seems very much focused on the future. “I’m looking for projects!” he told the Playlist at the New York Film Festival premiere of "The Descendants" on Sunday night. “We’ve been trying to figure out what we’re doing next.”
Well, let’s see. He’s already completed work on Alfonso Cuarón's sci-fi film with Sandra Bullock, "Gravity." So what he’s really scouting for now is another directing project to add to his slate which includes 2002’s "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," 2005’s "Good Night and Good Luck," and 2008’s "Leatherheads." He was attached to direct the heist film "Belmont Boys" a few years ago (with a script by Brian Koppelman and David Levien), but has since moved on. “I’m off that,” he told us. “I’m done.”
Then there was the CIA thriller "Argo," which Clooney co-wrote and was also planning to direct – until it became clear that his work on 'Ides' would have prevented him from starting the new film until next year. Fortunately, another actor-turned-director – Ben Affleck – turned up to take over. “Ben called me up,” Clooney recalled, “and said ‘I’m interested in directing it.’ So I said, ‘Well, that’s great.’ Ben’s a really, really good director, so I thought that was a great thing.” "Argo," which is set in 1979 (and is now shooting), concerns a team of agents who pretend to be filmmakers in order to rescue some U.S. hostages in Iran. (Sounds odd, but it’s based on a true story.) “I’d like to see Ben’s take on it,” Clooney said. “Because while it’s a thriller, it’s got comedy in it, too, which is going to be fun for him. He’s got a great sense of humor.”
Then there's the developing movie version of the 2005 political-marketing documentary "Our Brand Is Crisis." Clooney was toying with the idea of directing that, too. But although he still intends to produce and star in the film, he has decided not to helm it. “It’s not something I really understand [as a director],” he admitted. “It’s sort of out there. It’s not quite in my range. So there are better directors for that.”
Also on the docket is "The Monster of Florence," based on Douglas Preston’s true-crime book about an Italian serial killer. The movie has no director yet, but Clooney – who has a home in Italy – will definitely be playing Preston. However, the book features (and paints a very unflattering portrait of) the prosecutor in the case – the same one who recently presided over the Amanda Knox trial. And since Knox’s guilty verdict was just reversed on appeal, the 'Monster' script is currently being adjusted.
“I was very happy for that verdict,” Clooney says. “Because I was one of those people who thought Amanda Knox was probably guilty, and then I ended up changing my mind. And it will affect our screenplay, that verdict -- and that mentality: get a conviction at all costs -- because it’s the theme of the book and the screenplay.”
And Clooney definitely won’t be directing the picture, he said, because he only takes supporting roles in films he directs saying, “When you’re directing, you’re really doing everything -- you’re really busy!” Which sounds like he might be up for a little real-life downtime. If there are no acting or directing projects for a while, he said, no problem. “I'm fine. I've got stuff to do.”
"The Descendants" hits theaters on November 18th.
[Photo via CelebBuzz]