Saturday, April 20, 2024

Exclusive: George Clooney A List Premiere for Thrilling “The Boys in the Boat” — Star Will Make Next Movie with Noah Baumbach (UDPATED)


UPDATED THURSDAY NIGHT: After I published this scoop at 1:18pm Thursday, it turned into chum in the water. Four hours later, “exclusives” were claimed everywhere about Clooney and Baumbach making a film for Netflix with Adam Sandler. You’re welcome, everyone!

1:15pm Thursday: The splashiest deal in New York last night?

An exclusive A list premiere at the Museum of Modern Art for George Clooney’s new film, “The Boys in the Boat.”

The screening was followed by a swanky party at the Polo restaurant, where corned beef sandwiches cost about 40 bucks at a regular dinner. The In Crowd loves it there.

Among the guests (besides George’s smart, glamorous wife Amal) were “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig with husband, director-writer Noah Baumbach (who also co-wrote the massive “Barbie” hit movie.)

I can tell that this hot filmdom couple’s presence was not only because they like George. Clooney will star in Baumbach’s next film, maybe for Netflix, where Baumbach previously had his great “Meyerowitz Stories.”

Amazon is very high on Clooney with “The Boys in Boat” and rightly so. The story of the American rowing team winning the 1936 Olympics in Berlin is a superbly exciting sports film, and Clooney’s best directing effort in some time. I thought it was outstanding. “The Boys in the Boat” opens wide Christmas Day, and it’s a great entertainment you can take the whole family to without fear of inappropriate material.

Amazon Studios are so keen on George that no less than their president, Jennifer Salke, came cross country for the event. That’s a big deal. Also spotted: CAA co-chief Bryan Lourd.

Other guests included “Elvis” star Austin Butler with his girlfriend, Kaia Gerber — she’s like Clooney’s god-daughter (her parents are Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber), plus Katie Couric, a sunglassed Anna Wintour, producer Jean Doumanian, and journalist Jill Brooke, from

You could tell “The Boys in the Boat” was going to be good because George did not give a long, windy introduction. He just welcomed the crowd, and said Let’s see it. Afterwards we met his sizzling young cast including Callum Turner, Jack Mulhern, Luke Slattery, and the Grace Kelly-like Hadley Robinson (who’d be great in a remake of “Chinatown” with Kirsten Dunst).

What makes “The Boys in the Boat” so timely is that the American Olympic team went to Berlin at a time when Hitler was securing his power. The sight of him being defeated by Americans is very satisfying. The swastikas adoring pillars at the Olympic site should be a warning to us all right now: if we’re not careful, this can happen again.

Meanwhile, Clooney revels in the training of the rowers– all of whom are actors who had to go through the whole process. How good are they now? George told me when I caught up with him: “They were posting such good numbers in training and rehearsal, the guys were looking around to compete for real. They found a race near us, but I persuaded them not to try it!”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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