Did you do a double take?
It’s true. George Clooney is not only among the best Hollywood has to offer on-screen, but also a director who is quickly gathering acclaim. Clooney has directed four films now, two of them (“Good Night, and Good Luck”, “The Ides of March”) already attracting nominations for an Academy Award for Directing and a Golden Globe Award for Best Directing – Motion Picture.
These are some of the most interesting cases in filmmaking for me. We are given stars to follow their every move for years, making them the most publicly recognized of all filmmaking employees, so we (theoretically) know a lot about them already. So any time an actor or actress takes it upon themselves to step behind the camera it’s an interesting choice to me. I’m especially excited to see their films because I like to see if my favorite actors have the dynamic talent to helm all aspects of a film on their own.
Even more interesting, getting the opportunity to direct his feature film debut “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” was given by the busiest filmmaker in Hollywood, Clooney’s longtime friend and partner, Steven Soderbergh. Soderbergh has directed too many films to count but the first ones to come to mind are “Ocean’s Eleven”, “Solaris”, “Erin Brockavich”, oh..and “Magic Mike” (It’s a hard life being a guy knowing Magic Mike is directed by someone you think is really cool and admire.) Anyway, Soderbergh is a big name and without his consent and coming on to “Confessions” as a producer, I don’t see Clooney getting this film made.
It was such a unique odd-ball thing to begin with. The plot follows Chuck Barris, who was a TV show host who also claimed to be an assassin for the CIA. Based on a true story. Oh, and the screenplay was written by the strangest, most unique genius in screenwriting today: Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, etc.). So this was nothing safe. I admire that Clooney wanted to take this challenge because this is how you get noticed in filmmaking. You have to pull out all the stops.
As it turns out, I’ve only been able to see “Good Night, and Good Luck”. This has been Clooney’s biggest critical success to date garnering six nominations at the 2006 Academy Awards. “Good Night” was a nostalgic period piece set in the 50’s about a network television war between anchors and executives debating the amount of truth revealed in reporting.
Overall, it was a good film but I probably won’t watch it again. It showed flashes of interesting cinematography in a stylized decade, but ultimately I didn’t care enough about this confrontation. Anyway, the best thing I got out of it was that Clooney is a legitimate filmmaker and I will definitely see all his future work.
I just missed “The Ides of March” unfortunately which seemed to be his most successful film. I’m going to catch up to it through Netflix next time I’m thinking about it online because I have a feeling that one will be the turning point. I first realized Clooney was directing films back when his football comedy “Leatherheads” was released in 2008 but when “Ides” was released, people finally knew he directed it.
That’s cool because this is the path I always hope for with my favorite actors. Clooney is 51 and can act for quite some time (see: Morgan Freeman, Jack Nicholson, Christopher Plummer) but a seat behind the camera will always be available.
If Clooney continues this interesting two way street career path he could build on to an already legendary career in film. I hope he does because I have confidence in the most charismatic man in Hollywood.