Say it ain't so!
In an interview with the BBC to promote the ensemble comedy Hail, Caesar!, George Clooney confessed that he's not too keen to age onscreen. "I think nobody really wants to see anybody really age," the 54-year-old actor admitted. "You know, it's a very unforgiving thing, the camera is, and so aging becomes something that you know, you try to do less and less onscreen. You try to pick the films that work best for you and as you age they become less and less." Clooney, who next appears in Money Monster, said the situation was "obviously a lot worse for women."
Rest assured, Clooney has a backup plan: directing.
"It is my great love," said Clooney, who directed 2002's Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, 2005's Good Night, and Good Luck, 2008's Leatherheads, 2011's The Ides of March and 2014's The Monuments Men, in addition to five episodes of HBO's Unscripted in 2005. "I enjoy it a lot. I've had really great success, 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," he told the BBC. "As you age on screen you get to that point where you really understand that, you know, you can't stay in front of the camera your whole life. It's much more fun, and it's infinitely more creative, to be directing."
Clooney already has a directing (and producing) job lined up with Suburbicon. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen wrote its script, and Matt Damon and Julianne Moore are attached to star in it. Clooney is also slated to direct Hack Attack, Sony Pictures' adaptation of journalist Nick Davies' account of the U.K. phone hacking scandal surrounding Rupert Murdoch's news empire. "This has all the elements—lying, corruption, blackmail—at the highest levels of government by the biggest newspaper in London," he told Variety last year. "And the fact that it's true is the best part. Nick is a brave and stubborn reporter and we consider it an honor to put his book to film."
It's not exactly a secret that Clooney wants to spend more time behind the camera. In an interview with The Christian Post in 2014, the actor admitted, "I prefer directing to other things. Directing and writing, I think, seem infinitely more creative." To hone his craft, Clooney said he did everything possible to "learn from the people" he so admired. "I've worked with the Coen brothers, Alexander Payne...I see what they're doing and steal it," he joked. "That's the theory."
"The truth is, your development, you hope, is the same as everyone—succeed some, fail some and keep slugging away at it. It is fun; I really enjoy it. I like directing more than acting now," Clooney told the newspaper. "I don't know if it's improving, but it's evolving in different directions."