EXCLUSIVE George Clooney added lots of excitement to the 15th anniversary screening of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Tuesday night at the New York Film Festival where he joined cast members Tim Blake Nelson and John Turturro, along with directors Joel and Ethan Coen, on the red carpet.
But he skipped the swanky after party at the Landmarc Grill. And he disappointed gossip fans who were hoping he and wife Amal, married one year, would have baby news.
Oh brother, where art thou?
John Turturro walked the carpet with his son, who looks like a younger version of his dad and is just as tall. (Turturro stars in another film screening at the New York Film Festival, the excellent Italian movie “Mia Madre,” directed by Nanni Morretti.) Turturro recalled “Oh Brother,’ which was his fourth time working with the Coen brothers, did okay but didn’t win awards although critics talked about the cinematography. “The CD really carried it,” Turturro told me, “A lot of the Coen Brothers movies grow with time.”
Joel Coen was unusually talkative and charming on the carpet – his brother Ethan darted off after a few interviews with television crews. Joel Coen told me he doesn’t generally watch their old movies because he sees too many things he’d have done differently. “This is a rare exception,” he told me of his plans to sit through the film. Of making ‘O Brother,’ he recalled that, “The experience of it was quite joyful. Whenever we do a movie with a lot of music in it it’s always the case, even it can be a funny movie or it can be frankly kind of darker movie like ‘Inside Llewyn Davis,’ but if there’s music in it it’s a joyful experience to make. It’s the music really which I remember mainly.”
Clooney, who looked handsomer than ever if a lot greyer than when the movie first came out, provided all the razzle-dazzle and excitement on the carpet. He had scruffy grey fuzz on his face and wore an elegant black suit and shirt and joked to a similarly dressed man with a television crew that they must have gotten the same memo.
Clooney was charming and joked around with journalists on the red carpet as he usually does.
To a question about his wife Amal, who wasn’t on the carpet but joined him for the screening, he told a journalist he was a “creature of habit” and if left to him would just go down the street to the same sushi bar four nights in a week for dinner but “she says that’s not going to happen.”
Clooney is now making his sixth Coen brothers film, “Hail, Caesar!” and he was asked how the directors had changed since he first worked with them. “They’ve gotten very hard to deal with because they’ve won Oscars and things,” he cracked. “They’ve changed. You can see it by the clothes they wear, by how different they’ve become, and they tend to hit people now which I find really horrible.”
I told Clooney I covered the premiere of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” at the Ziegfeld 15 years ago for the New York Times and recalled talking to his uncle, who was from Kentucky, and helped George with his Southern accent. “He was my voice coach,” he laughed.
I asked the actor about some of his memories of making the film. “I was thinking about that, what were the most amazing moments. There were some shocking moments. I remember we were out in the middle of a field, the field where we were running in the movie, when we heard that John Kennedy Jr.’s plane was missing, and I remember we were out in the middle of nowhere and we all knew something really terrible had happened. Those are those moments that you say you know exactly where you were. Then I think about moments like with Charles Durning where he’s dancing on the stage, this great hefty beautiful hoofer of a guy jumps up on stage and just starts dancing, one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in my life. The energy he had at 70, that he just loved doing what he did. It was a great experience all the way around.”
Photo c2015 Showbiz411 by Paula Schwartz