By George, Clooney’s Got Us

Gearing up for the one-night-only L.A. reading of 8, Dustin Lance Black’s Prop. 8 play, George Clooney reaffirms his commitment to marriage equality and opens up about persistent gay rumors, his bromance with Brad Pitt, and the prospect of playing Paul Lynde.

BY Brandon Voss

February 29 2012 5:00 AM ET

 How can we speed up that process?
I play a presidential candidate in The Ides of March, and I have a scene where I talk about marriage rights and how this will all be over soon. Because there’s always the argument about choice: When you say someone chose to be gay, when “I was born this way” becomes “I decided to be this way,” you can say that it not a civil rights issue. But I believe that portion of the argument is so rapidly changing, especially with young people. Once that’s absorbed, when people realize that you don’t just wake up and decide to be gay, I believe that the next step will follow very naturally. We’ve had a very successful past few years. People get frustrated with the Obama administration, but “don’t ask, don’t tell” is gone, and a lot of states are changing their policies on marriage equality. I’m very optimistic that equality will soon be the law of the land.

Not all celebrities are as willing to make public political statements as you are. Why don’t more celebrities show your level of support? Are they afraid of alienating fans on the other side of the political fence?
I just think there are a lot of celebrities who don’t feel that they have a voice. A lot of actors come from a place of fear, and that’s just a general statement about actors. You’re terrified the casting director won’t like you, you’re terrified the producer won’t like you, you’re terrified the director won’t like you, and on and on. That doesn’t change just because you get a series or a movie and become popular, so it takes a while for actors to get their confidence up. You also have to remember that it’s very easy to immediately disenfranchise an actor with an opinion, because other than Ronald Reagan, actors aren’t allowed to have opinions. The simple truth is that everyone has an opinion, everyone has the right to voice it, and they should if they want to.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are among those who have gone so far as to vow not to get married until all Americans can marry.
Brad has also joked that he’s not getting married until I can legally marry my partner. He’s been funny about it, because he knows that the best and most effective way to end marriage inequality is to point out the ridiculousness of it. Gay marriage doesn’t affect anyone else or change the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. It’s not about singling out one group and giving them special rights; it’s about giving everybody the same rights.

Is it safe to say that you and Brad have a bromance against which all other bromances must be measured?
[Laughs] I do think we’ve set the bar very high. People think Brad and I hang out all the time, but the truth is that we see each other very rarely, maybe a couple times a year. I’ve had great fun spending time with my friend again over the awards season. Not only do I enjoy him as a person and respect his talent, but I also love what he does in the world. I can’t speak highly enough about how hard he works at making the world better. I’m very proud to call him my friend.
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