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So, George Clooney doesn't think much of Leonardo DiCaprio, eh?
Or that's what he implied at least (follow-up to come, surely) in a new profile featured in the December issue of Esquire in which, mid-pickup-game-anecdote, Clooney wondered aloud whether or not his fellow actor had "someone in [his] life to tell [him] what's what."
The Oscar winner's publicist has since clarified the made-for-pullout-headlines quote, saying that Clooney was talking purely about basketball and not DiCaprio's life. (As for the Russell Crowe story...nothing was lost in translation there, the rep said.)
But while we're on the subject of explaining what's what, here are seven more awesome things we now know about George Clooney:
1. Clooney the Collector: According to Tom Junod's profile, the actor's walls are covered with photos and memorabilia including a collection of neckties that belonged to JFK; a piece of tile reading "The Gables," which used to sit outside his own home, which once belonged to Clark Gable; pictures of members of the actual Rat Pack horsing around; and a figure used for his title character in the stop-animationFantastic Mr. Fox. He's also in possession of an old wallet of the late President Kennedy, sent to him by a friend of Ted Kennedy's after the senator's passing.
2. It's in the Genes: Clooney's dad, newscaster Nick Clooney, was both very much of his time and, inspiringly, way ahead of it—which fostered an environment that allowed his son's devilish sense of humor to fluorish. "My father's a really funny man, and at the time we were growing up, in the mid-sixties, and I was like seven years old, they always had dinner parties," he told the mag. "This was back in the old days, when you would have cocktail parties and drink grasshoppers. And my dad would tell, you know, a story, something a little risqué—nothing dirty at all, just a little risqué. And I knew that I could take the next step, right? The little-bit-dirtier version." Clooney also remembers his dad, who has accompanied him on humanitarian trips to Africa, as "absolutely immovable in doing what was right."
3. Old School: Clooney writes letters because he "likes paper." No wonder he has no interest in tweeting. He also insists, when he has those glamorous-yet-casual, star-studded dinners that he really does have (it's not just in our fantasies), he makes his guests put away their phones.
4. World War Z Almost Killed Brad Pitt: So Pitt did notice the problems that plagued the hyped horror-action thriller so much that Vanity Fair ran a cover story about it. They met up in London, Clooney told Esquire, when Pitt was doing reshoots. "And I was like, ‘How you holding up?'" Clooney recalled. "And he took out a knife and stabbed it in the table and we drank a lot of vodka and he just said, ‘This one's going to kill me, man.' It was a huge reshoot and Brad was putting it on his shoulders. He picked it up and put it on his shoulders and took it away from all the people who were screwing it up. Carried it over the finish line." (Which helps explain why he admires Pitt so damn much.)
5. He Loves Pranking Brad Pitt: Clooney revealed that he once had stationery printed up with his pal's name on and penned intentionally ridiculous notes to Meryl Streep and Don Cheadle.
6. Always Go for the Laugh: After being invited to address the United Nations Security Council about Darfur, Qatar's ambassador registered his protest, in Arabic, that an actor, albeit a "very fine" one, was in there mixing it up with the big shots. And Clooney, with seconds to figure it out, embraced his "well, f--k it" moment and joked that the translation had cut out after "very fine actor." "It's funny, but in some really stressful moments I'm the Zen master," he told the mag.
7. Loyalty Goes a Long Way: Clooney used to share an assistant with Noah Wyle when they were both on ER. She remains Clooney's assistant now and, a couple of days after he asked her if she liked her dinged-up truck and she said it was fine, he bought her a new one.