By George, Clooney’s Got Us
BY Brandon Voss
February 29 2012 5:00 AM ET
The success of films such as Ocean’s Eleven, Up in the Air, and The Descendants has made George Clooney one of the most celebrated movie stars in the world, but the former ER doc has garnered increasing attention as a vocal champion of marriage equality. Clooney will take part in a star-studded reading of Dustin Lance Black’s play 8, which is adapted from transcripts of California’s historic Proposition 8 trial, March 3 the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles. Next seen on the big screen in the sci-fi thriller Gravity, the 50-year-old Oscar winner reveals why he hasn’t played a gay role and why he’ll never squelch a gay rumor.
The Advocate: How did you get involved with the staged reading of 8?
George Clooney: Rob Reiner, who’s directing, called and asked me to do it. I figured I couldn’t screw up a staged reading too bad. I felt that it was important to again bring focus to an issue that, in the very near future, we’ll look back on and laugh at the fact that it was ever an issue. It’s the right thing to do.
You’re playing pro-equality attorney David Boies opposite Martin Sheen as his adversary-turned-ally Theodore B. Olson. What about Boies appealed to you?
I looked through the parts, and I just liked Boies and thought that was the part I could best serve. I haven’t spoken to Mr. Boies, but I’ve read the transcripts of the trial, and, of course, I’m very familiar with him and how special it was that he and Olsen got together on this issue.
When did you decide to get involved in the fight for marriage equality?
It’s always been this albatross that stood out to me as the final leg of the civil rights movement. It really came to a head during the 2004 elections, when it was used as a wedge issue, and it was a very effective tool to keep the Republicans in office and to avoid talking about other issues. Well before Prop. 8, I’ve made the point that every time we’ve stood against equality, we’ve been on the wrong side of history. It’s the same kind of argument they made when they didn’t want blacks to serve in the military, or when they didn’t want blacks to marry whites. One day the marriage equality fight will look as archaic as George Wallace standing on the University of Alabama steps keeping James Hood from attending college because he was black. People will be embarrassed to have been on the wrong side. So it’s encouraging to know that this too will seem like such a silly argument to our next generation. There are even a lot of young conservatives today for whom marriage equality isn’t an issue. It always takes government an extra generation to catch up to the people.