Few actors possess as much talent and charisma as George Clooney. From playing roles as diverse as criminal Seth Gecko and con man Danny Ocean, the actor has brought endless amounts of charm to the big screen. But as of late, Clooney has been notable by his absence from movie theaters – and the reason why might leave his biggest fans in tears.
Though he was born 2,000 miles from the lure of Tinseltown, Kentucky native Clooney was always linked to showbiz. To wit, his aunt Rosemary had been a huge star of the 1950s. Perhaps best known for starring alongside Bing Crosby in 1954’s White Christmas, Rosemary left a towering legacy for the fledgling actor to follow.
However, it wouldn’t be Rosemary herself who convinced Clooney to become an actor, but rather her son, Miguel Ferrer. You see, after toying with the idea of pursuing a pro-baseball career, Clooney was asked to visit the set of a movie Ferrer was shooting in the early 1980s. And the experience inspired the future star to drop everything and move to L.A.
Though he earned a respectable living as a supporting actor in TV shows, Clooney wasn’t initially the matinee idol we know him as today. That all changed, however, when he was cast as Dr. Doug Ross in the hit series ER. With as many as 42 million fans tuning in to catch a single episode, Clooney’s fame shot understandably through the roof.
Before long, Clooney’s star power was so great that he was able to make the jump from TV to film. And after a stunted start in 1997’s Batman & Robin, the actor came into his own the following year with Out of Sight. His subsequent appearances in the Ocean’s series further added to his screen appeal.
Moreover, since his big break, Clooney has gone from strength to strength. The star even landed a well-deserved Oscar for his performance in 2005’s Syriana. In addition, he has successfully slipped into directing and producing, with hits such as 2011’s The Ides of March and the following year’s Academy Award-winning Argo.
Still, as much as they fawned over his cinematic output, fans were equally enthralled by Clooney’s personal life. Indeed, media interest reached a peak in 2013 when the actor met lawyer Amal Alamuddin. After years of living life as a bachelor, Clooney had seemingly finally found the one – and the public was fascinated by his new relationship.
And just one year after they began dating, Clooney and Alamuddin decided to tie the knot. Besides leading him to give up his bachelor lifestyle, the union would also cause Clooney to think about starting a family. Subsequently, in 2017 – at the age of 56 – the star became a father when twins Ella and Alexander were born.
Having two kids to look after has naturally put some pressure on Clooney. “It’s not just twice as much work,” he told the Daily Mail. “It’s more than that. And it’s not even so much work for me because these two knuckleheads don’t even care that I exist right now!”
Yet despite the added responsibilities of parenthood, the star has still found time to work. Indeed, 2017 saw the release of Surbicon, Clooney’s sixth film as a director. Nonetheless, eagle-eyed fans might have noticed something missing from the movie’s poster.
While Surbicon stars his Ocean’s colleague Matt Damon and the supremely talented Julianne Moore, Clooney doesn’t actually appear in the film himself. And this isn’t the only occasion upon which the star has shirked away from the spotlight in recent times. In fact, Clooney hasn’t acted since 2016’s Money Monster.
So what is it that has made Clooney so camera shy in the past two years? Could it be his new role as a parent? Or do studio heads no longer see the star as a big draw at the box office? Well – according to a recent interview by the actor – his reticence might have more to do with vanity…
During an interview with the BBC in 2017, the 57-year-old star said that he believes he’s now too old to step in front of the cameras. “I think nobody really wants to see anybody really age,” he claimed. “You get to the point where you really understand that, you know, you can’t stay in front of the camera your whole life.”
Although many people think that Clooney has matured rather well, the star nonetheless said that age has made him reconsider his acting career. “It’s a very unforgiving thing, the camera is. And so aging becomes something that, you know, you try to do less on-screen,” he continued. “You try to pick the films that work best for you, and as you age they become less and less.”
The star had expressed similar views earlier in 2017 during an interview with The Sunday Times. “Look, I acted for a long time and, you know, I’m 56. I’m not the guy that gets the girl anymore,” he said. “If somebody’s got [a part like] Paul Newman in The Verdict, I’d jump. But there aren’t that many like that.”
Obviously, the news has come as something of a shock to Clooney’s biggest fans. But anyone thinking that he will be disappearing completely from public life couldn’t be any more wrong. Yes, instead of acting, the star says that he is refocusing his efforts on a career behind the camera.
“It’s so much more fun, and infinitely more creative, to be directing,” he told the BBC. “I’ve had really great successes, and I’ve had some not-so-successful films, and that’s also part of the experience. But what I’ll say is it’s really fun.”
Furthermore, he feels that his position in Hollywood has made it easier for him to green light films. “I have money,” he explained to The Sunday Times. “So I can fight to make movies I want to make… Over the past 15 years, for the most part [my films] weren’t going to get made if I didn’t do them.”
Certainly, one thing that Clooney doesn’t have to worry about is finances. And having sold his Casamigos tequila brand in 2017 for an extraordinary figure, it seems that no amount of money could tempt him back to the screen. “Acting used to be how I paid the rent,” he told People. “But I sold a tequila company for a billion f****** dollars.”
Still, it isn’t all doom and gloom for the actor’s ardent followers – because Clooney has agreed to appear in a TV adaptation of Joseph Heller’s acclaimed novel Catch-22, which he will also produce and direct. Let’s hope this won’t be his final foray into the world of acting, though.