George Clooney says things have changed in Hollywood in recent years.
“Just because you’re a boss, it doesn’t mean you get to s*** on people. I’ve been the boss and the guy being s*** on,” Clooney said in a new interview in the Times. “You can’t get away with being a d*** any more — you’d get ratted out.”
Some of that change has come in the wake of the #MeToo movement, said Clooney. He cited the downfall of disgraced former producer Harvey Weinstein, who was sentenced to 23 years in a New York prison in March of 2020, as well as producer Scott Rudin, who was the subject of allegations detailing decades of abusive and violent behavior.
“It’s changed in this way,” said Clooney. “On top of the terrible things Weinstein did, being a jerk at work is now not OK… I can’t imagine some producer having a casting session alone in his hotel room with a young girl anymore. It’s moving in the right direction.”
However, he did mention that in the wake of the movement there’s “an overcorrection, where everyone points fingers.” But, he predicted, “that will settle — it always does.”
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In regards to what still needs to happen in order to make the industry safer for everyone, Clooney said, “We’ll know when we see how wrong something else goes. I’m sure there’s more and someone will tell us, then we’ll have to pay attention to it.”
Calling turning 60 a “bummer” — “but it’s that or dead” — Clooney said he’s grateful he didn’t achieve this level of fame at a younger age, when he wasn’t prepared for its effects. He feels “lucky I got famous when I was 33, not 23,” because “I’d have been shooting crack into my forehead if I had been 23 and given money and success.”
Extreme fame is “a bug light,” he added, comparing being under the microscope of celebrity to “those lights where mosquitoes fly into the zapper.”
“When you’re a young actor you run to success, which also includes fame. And the minute you get there you can get burnt good. Everything gets elevated in terms of what you can do or say — you have to learn how to be responsible.”
Clooney also believes that it’s failure, not success, that provides you with the greatest education.
“You’re not prepared for it,” he explained. “You need to have failed a s***load. If you have you never trust success. Every day I think, ‘If all hell broke loose, I have a couple of houses I paid cash for, I could sell one.’ My mentality is still that. Failures teach you everything — you learn nothing from success.”
Early on his career, Clooney “just took any job.” He later gained more autonomy over the projects he could take, but that also heightened the risk of failure. “Batman & Robin was a monumental disaster and I was bad in it, but that was a lesson. From then on I said it has to be all about scripts,” he said, mentioning his work with director Steven Soderbergh and the Coen brothers that ultimately earned him critical praise.
These days, he’s primarily focused on family. Along with wife Amal Clooney, he’s the father of 4-year-old twins, Alexander and Ella.
“I said to Amal, knock on wood, I’m healthy,” he shared. “We have young kids. I want to be able to live all of this.”