George Clooney Talks Amal, Kids and the New Film Project From Italian Villa

The Hollywood Reporter catches up with the mega-movie star at his home in Lake Como, Italy.

September 6, 2017 11:08 am
George Clooney on Amal, Kids, New Film
Amal Alamuddin and George Clooney attend the Celebrity Fight Night In Italy Benefitting The Andrea Bocelli Foundation and The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center Gala on September 7, 2014 in Florence, Italy. (Andrew Goodman/Getty Images for Celebrity Fight Night)

All opinions aside, George Clooney is the most famous actor in the world. U.S. and international tabloids follow his every move, the paparazzi are constantly breathing down his neck, and when he married lawyer Amal Alamuddin in 2014—the couple welcoming twins this past June—celebrity press coverage reached astronomical levels.

Luckily, Clooney owns an 18-century, lakeside villa on Lake Como, a picturesque and surprisingly untouched nook in Italy’s northern region. But even it couldn’t provide the star and his family with a haven from the international press; when a French tabloid published photos of his seven-week-old twins, Clooney released a statement, saying enough is enough.

The Hollywood Reporter was onsite to interview Clooney less than 24 hours after the incident, and RealClearLife has teased out some of the most intriguing bits and pieces from the resultant feature by Stephen Galloway.

-Clooney’s been coming to Lake Como for 16 years. He and friend Rande Gerber (Cindy Crawford’s husband) had been riding motorbikes around the island when one broke down in front of Villa Oleandra. Clooney bought it on the spot for $7.5 million. (He also bought a neighboring villa as well.)

-His first date with Amal was inviting her to Abbey Road Studios in London to listen to the scoring of Monuments Men. 

-Of fatherhood, Clooney says, “I’m a very good diaper guy, which I didn’t know I would be.”

-Of the incident with the paparazzo, Clooney told Galloway: “Every single day there’s some crazy sort of infringement. And you go, ‘OK, we’ll eat it. That’s what we have to do.’ But when someone breaks the law, that’s beyond what we bargained for, beyond the pact I made: that when you’re famous, you’re going to be followed. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t be furious.”

-Annually, Clooney invites guests like Charlie Rose and David Gergen to the villa to engage in a “contemporary Algonquin Round Table.” He explains that he enjoyed the idea of “All these really interesting, smart people, sitting around having conversations.”

-Clooney has struck up a friendship with former president Barack Obama, whom he has invited to a home in England, and sends texts back and forth with him. When asked if the texts ever get racy, Clooney responds: “Sometimes, sure. A little bit. Not Scaramucci-racy, but … you know, I have over the years with my friends said a lot of really [outrageous things].”

-Of his latest, racially charged film, Suburbicon, which he directed—it was written by the Coen Brothers—Clooney says, “I wanted it to be violent, I wanted it to be angry, and I think it’s a very angry film. We’re at a time when we need to address these issues, and unfortunately they’re issues that we have never completely exorcised.”

Suburbicon was filming when Trump was elected president. Of the environment on set afterward, Clooney says, “Everybody was pretty devastated. [Then] as we were working on the movie, we felt the tone shift. The realization of the film became much darker than we’d thought.”

-Of the one time Clooney ever met Trump, he says this: “I was sitting down at a restaurant in New York [several years ago] and he came in and we talked for a while. I’d had neck surgery, and he said, ‘I’ll give you the name of a doctor,’ and he wrote me a couple of times with the name. Then he went on Larry King Live and told him I was very short. I’m 5-foot-11—I’m not the tallest actor in the world, but I’m not short. That made me laugh.”

-Somewhat surprisingly, Clooney said he’s battled feelings of loneliness. “Anyone would be lying if they said they didn’t. The loneliest you will get is in the most public of arenas: You will go to a place and end up in the smallest compartment possible, because [your presence is] a distraction to everybody.”

Watch the trailer for the Clooney-directed Suburbicon below.

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