By George, Clooney’s Got Us
BY Brandon Voss
February 29 2012 5:00 AM ET
You voiced Sparky, a gay dog, in a 1997 episode of South Park. You also half-jokingly said in a 2006 interview with Barbara Walters that you played your Batman as gay in Batman & Robin. Other than that, you haven’t played a proper gay role. Are gay parts not offered to you? Do Hollywood decision makers have trouble seeing you as a gay character?
When you’re in the position to green-light a picture, you become the decision maker, so there’s no conspiracy of power brokers. I’m in my office right now with a stack of scripts in front of me; if I pick one, it’ll be made. For me, the issue is finding a good script. I’m not looking at a character as much as I’m looking at whether or not the movie works. When you first start out as an actor, you’re just looking for a good part. As time goes on, if you’re being held responsible for the movies themselves, you’re looking for a good script all around. Right now my job is to find good screenplays, and it’s a lot harder than it sounds.
Many of your peers have taken on gay roles, particularly in high-profile biopics. Which gay personality would you like to tackle on film?
If you named somebody, I could tell you if I thought he had an interesting story.
Yeah, I’d play the center square. The title of the movie would be I’ll Take Paul Lynde to Block. Listen, there are a bunch of interesting stories out there, but I just haven’t found a screenplay with a gay subject that felt right for me as something that I could direct or act in. I’m certainly not avoiding it. Whether it’s about being gay or it just happens to have a gay character, if it’s a great screenplay, let’s go do it.
Last year it was reported that you had been offered a leading role in the remake of The Set, a 1970 gay-themed Australian film. Is there any validity to that?
Whatever you just said, that’s the first time I’ve heard of it. Literally, that happens every day, where someone says I’m involved with something that I’m not doing.
An Italian gay reporter famously stripped down to his underwear, declared his love for you, and asked you for a kiss during the 2009 Venice Film Festival. How often does that sort of thing happen when the camera aren’t rolling?
Never. In fact, that guy only did that because the cameras were rolling. Everything Paddy Chayefsky wrote about in Network came true — about the news reporter becoming the star. It was so funny, because as handlers tried to shoo that guy out, he just kept yelling, “I’m gay, George! I’m gay!” I was like, “OK. Got it. And? What now?” People like that just want attention and want to make a name for themselves. As you know, gays have been the butt of easy jokes for quite some time now, and it would be nice if that weren’t the case.
As someone twice-named People’s Sexiest Man Alive, which man do you find sexy?
Not that I don’t think Bradley Cooper is a perfectly sexy guy, but I’m still shocked that Ryan Gosling didn’t get Sexiest Man Alive last year. I thought he worked hard and ran a very solid campaign, so I feel that he was ripped off.
And if your flattering remarks at the Golden Globes were any indication, Shame’s Michael Fassbender has also caught your eye.
[Laughs] Well, c’mon. Every guy who saw that movie was like, “Jesus Christ,” at the exact same time.
For more info on the March 3 reading of 8 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, a benefit for American Foundation for Equal Rights, visit afer.org/8losangeles.