George Clooney has joked he should never have given Jean Dujardin tips on winning an Oscar.
The two men were both nominated for the prestigious best actor Academy Award in 2012, George for his role in The Descendants and Jean for The Artist. French actor Jean was triumphant, but George insists he had a small part in the win.
“The first time I saw him was at Telluride,” he told Variety magazine. “He’s standing next to Harvey Weinstein, and I put my arm around him and said, ‘If you learn to speak English, you’ll win the Oscar.’ I should have kept my mouth shut.”
George has got over his disappointment and even enlisted Jean to appear in his latest movie The Monuments Men, which he wrote, directed and stars in. It’s about a platoon in World War II who were tasked with recovering stolen artwork from the Nazis, with Matt Damon, Bill Murray and Cate Blanchett among those appearing.
George persuaded the all-star cast to work for “crazy cheap” so he could keep costs down and was astounded by their dedication to getting the movie made, especially when the weather in Germany caused problems.
“It starts to snow,” he explained. “You couldn’t get f**ed worse.
“There’s John Goodman and Bill Murray and Matt Damon all picking up camera boxes and carrying them down this hill with the crew. Bill and John would come to the set when they weren’t even in scenes. It was really sweet.”
Story-telling has always been George’s passion, although the 52-year-old worries about the effect the modern world will have on it in the long run.
“I grew up in a family of storytellers, but Google has destroyed us, because you can fact-check everything. We’d always like the stories to be a little better than they were,” he mused.
The star rose to fame thanks to his role on US medical drama ER but left because he wanted to make films. He cites starring in 1997 flop Batman & Robin as one of the most vital things that has ever happened to him.
“Now I had to think, ‘OK, I’m going to be held responsible for the entire script. If I’m going to be responsible for the entire movie, I want more say. I’m going to write it or direct it or produce it,’” he recalled.
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