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We Talk with George Clooney about his new film The Descendants

George Clooney’s new film The Descendants, directed by Alexander Payne, the creator of the Oscar-winning Sideways, is set in Hawaii and follows the unpredictable journey of an American family at a crossroads. Matt King (George Clooney), a husband and father of two girls, must re-examine his past and navigate his future when his wife is in a boating accident off Waikiki. While trying to repair his relationship with his kids, he discovers his wife was cheating on him during the time of her accident, forcing him to reexamine his life. We had the chance to talk with George Clooney about the film and his time in Hawaii.

Tell us about the movie Descendants and how you got the part?

Well, the director, Alexander Payne, failed to find me fascinating enough when I met with him for Sideways. I just can’t seem to let that go. But he came to me in Toronto and said he had a script for me and in fact said he was writing it for me. I told him I would do it without even reading it. I wanted to work with him.

What was shooting In Hawaii like?

Well people drive really slow, something like 45 miles an hour, so it takes awhile to get into that rhythm. I would be behind the wheel yelling because I wanted to go 50. But what a great place to shoot a movie .

So what was different about this shoot that was different?

One of the things that was different about it was that I did not have relatives visiting me on the set everyday. When I shoot a movie in my home town of Kentucky, so many relatives show up. Cousins, many cousins I did not know I even had show up!

What do you look for in a movie project that you accept?

Most of the time I am working in places I am not so familiar with, so location is not really a factor. I look for a great script, a great director.

Hawaii turned out ok for you?

With this project, shooting in Hawaii, there is really nothing bad, no down side to that. I had not spent that much time there.

What about your clothes in the movie?

Well I told the director, wearing these khakis sky high, like up by my chin and these tropical shirts, I am not completely against khakis, but I may never get laid again!

How have you changed over the years as both an actor and director?

The older you get the less judgmental you get.

In this movie, as it unfolds, he seems to grow as a human being by the end?

At the end of the movie you realize even though his wife had cheated on him, he just was not there. In fact, he was never there for her or their kids.

How have you changed as a human being over the years?

I found as I get older, you start thinking that maybe you had been making issues bigger than they were. For example, things you thought were a certain way, well, as the years pass you find you were just plain wrong.

The Descendants opens in theaters November 18th.

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About Cynthia Parsons McDaniel

Cynthia Parsons McDaniel works as an artist in the mediums of video installation, collage and illustration and diorama. She recently attended the National Academy Museum School in New York City for Drawing and Visual Story Telling and Monotype Printmaking. She had her first collage piece in a group exhibition at the museum. She has written about design, film and theater for METROPOLIS, ELLE DECOR, IN STYLE, ELLE, DAILY NEWS, FASHION JOURNAL and NEWSWEEK. She has contributed to five books on design and film related subjects. She was nominated for an emmy while a producer at NBC. She was head of pr and marketing at Cannon Films, New Line Cinema and VP Grammercy Pictures, then special projects editor at IN STYLE and Features Editor New York Daily News. McDaniel then went back to working with actors on MAD MEN, WEEDS AND 30 ROCK and doing personal publicity and creating Tony, Emmy, Grammy and Academy Award Campaigns. She has produced events and handled press including European Film Awards in Berlin, Cannes Film Festival Party at Hotel Du Cap With WME, at Sundance Film Festival and Elton John's Oscar party, re-opening of the Hall of Mirrors and the Royal Opera House at Versailles and the Bob Hope Memorial Library Ellis Island. The short she co- produced was shown at both the Tribeca Film Festival and the London Film festival. She recently did props for Boardwalk Empire including window displays using antiques from Olde Good Things. She is a member of Pen + Brush and the Art Directors Club. She has most recently written a one act play about early broadway and created the props by hand using various antiques and paper techniques. She currently writes travel pieces and continues to profile actors and directors. She is currently working on her first solo exhibition.
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