How The Audacious Ambition Of His Netflix Sci-Fi Epic ‘The Midnight Sky’ Might Hasten George Clooney’s Transition From One A-List To Another

Netflix

It’s two days after Thanksgiving when George Clooney speaks to Deadline to discuss his ambitious The Midnight Sky, a timely sci-fi film split between a spacecraft and the frozen Iceland tundra. Scripted by The Revenant writer Mark L. Smith and just as rugged in its outdoor scenes, the film provides an up-the-road look at what might happen to Earth if mankind doesn’t slow the pace of a warming planet that is a gassy, ruined and uninhabitable husk just 29 years from now. Clooney stars as Augustine Lofthouse, an ailing scientist who has made it possible for survivors to migrate, but who stays behind in the Arctic to help everyone else as they head for a new start in a new paradise in space. He’s surprised by a small child stowaway he needs to take with him to move to a station with a strong antenna to warn the astronauts on one particular spacecraft to not come back. The film is conscious of its timely warning message, down ton a homage to the Stanley Kramer apocalyptic film On the Beach. Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler, Sophie Rundle, Demian Bichir, Tiffany Boone and newcomer Caoilinn Springall round the cast.

Clooney was aglow that morning for having successfully cooked Thanksgiving dinner – “my one cooking talent but it is really good, and the secret is you just fill everything with butter,” he confides. This year, only wife Amal and their 3-year-old twins Alexandra and Ella consumed the buttery bird, the usual family crowd unable to come because of the pandemic. Clooney is weathering similar limitations as he promotes his most ambitious turn as director, and which Netflix drops into the Oscar race on December 23. Hopes to premiere and wage a limited theatrical run were dashed by the Covid crisis. That’s a shame; I watched it on a movie screen, and the larger the screen, the better to appreciate the state-of-the-art shooting that Clooney put into this. Here, Clooney discusses how the film — which he chose above almost 100 other projects while convalescing from a dangerous motorcycle crash — broadens his ambition as a filmmaker who continues a transition from handsome leading man to A-list director as he rounds 60. This one could do for him what Unforgiven did to change the perceptions of Clint Eastwood.

Netflix

DEADLINE: The Midnight Sky is your seventh film as a director, and it feels like you raised the stakes in everything from ambition to budget, to genre. How was this more difficult than your earlier films?

GEORGE CLOONEY: On every level. As an actor…it was probably one of my more challenging if not most challenging role. As a filmmaker, well, half of it is Gravity and half The Revenant, and make sure that they join together. And just in terms of shooting, not storytelling but shooting, we spent the first half, from October through the first of the year, shooting in Iceland and England where I did my stuff. And then we shot all the space stuff. It was like shooting two different movies in an odd way. When I read the script…

DEADLINE: Which The Revenant writer Mark L. Smith adapted from the Lily Brooks-Dalton novel…

CLOONEY: Mark’s a wonderful writer, and the thing that I got from first reading the script was that these are really intimate, small stories about regret and redemption and communication and fear, all things that play in each of our homes individually right now. And this was before the pandemic. Anger, and coming to terms with anger and playing that out over a 30-year period and seeing what the results of what man could do to man.

DEADLINE: Which leaves Earth a ruined planet and its inhabitants seeking refuge in space, which makes it big-scale science fiction…

CLOONEY: But they’re really small, intimate pieces, framed inside these settings of space and the Arctic, which is vast. That part was intimidating, and the space stuff more so. But we had these characters to focus and ground it. And so then it just came down to being prepared.

I watched every space movie there is. I had some experience in it with Gravity and Solaris. The Iceland stuff was easier, believe it or not, because that’s picking up a camera in a snowstorm and just shooting. We had a skeleton crew, we knew what we wanted. The space part, you have to shoot by pre-vis, four months ahead of time. So I’ve got a VR mask on, you know, goggles on, walking around with a camera in my hand in an empty gym, basically walking on top of the space ship and lining up shots that they’re watching on a monitor and setting and then saying, OK, we’re going to shoot the ship from this angle. And they pre-set those shots which tell you what parts of the set you’ll have to build. Usually, you walk onto a set and go, OK, well, let’s put the camera here, and then over there. This was one where you go, we’re going to walk in sort of virtual land and figure out where we’re going to put the camera, which was a very different experience for me.

DEADLINE: The Revenant was a very difficult shoot because of those cold and wet outdoor vistas. Leonardo DiCaprio told Deadline it got so harrowing once, with all the equipment freezing, that he had to appeal to Alejandro González Iñárritu to try again on another day because conditions were so brutal. Your outdoor scenes in Iceland looked no less arduous. What’s the worst it got in those scenes with you and the little girl as your character tries to find a station that could send and receive signals from a space ship?

CLOONEY: It was brutal. The scenes with the water and the snowmobile that falls through the ice, that was in a giant stage we built. The other stuff? It was 70-mile-an-hour gusts and 40 degrees below zero. The scene where I lose the little girl, I’ve got no goggles on, and I could only shoot for a little over a minute before my eyelashes and eyelids would freeze shut. And they’d have to guide me into a van where somebody with a blow-dryer would aim at my eyelashes so I could open my eyes and go back out and shoot the rest of the scene. It was extreme.

We also had to tie strings to one another because, we’re chasing the weather, right? So we’re out on this glacier, it’s sunny as sh*t and just beautiful. You could see for 100 miles. And then it’s like a dust storm would look if you’re out in the desert, only with snow. You see it coming. It’s a wall, coming towards you. And I go, all right, everybody get ready. You tie strings to one another because you can’t see each other. You could get lost and literally not find your way home, the way we were shooting. I’ve got the little girl. I’m holding her hand, but we’re tied together. And I’ve got a longer, thin string that ties to the camera. So that if we got lost, they could find us. You see it coming, you start rolling just before it hits. And then you can’t see anything, and you’re just getting the sh*t beat out of you. And then it goes away after about five minutes.

The Midnight Sky
Netflix

And you go and rest, and wait for the next gust of wind that will make it go from day to night, in seconds. And that is just what we wanted. It was so hard. I dropped like 25 pounds to do this role, so I was weak. But I’m also directing, and responsible for a lot of people. When we were on the stages doing the space stuff, it’s about 350 people. So you’re trying to be the general, bouncing back and forth between everything. In a way, the extreme elements, the cold, make acting easy. My savior was this little girl, Caoilinn Springall, who’d never acted at all before. We read 200 girls and she was something special. She doesn’t act as much as listen and react. There’s a scene where we’re laying in chairs and looking up at Polaris, and you just watch how she reacts. I go, that’s Polaris, and she looks up, and I say, do you see it? And she looks up at it, and she looks at me, and she shakes her head. She doesn’t plan anything out, she just reacts and the honest to god truth is, at least 50% of the stuff I shot with her, inside, outside, everywhere, was one take. She probably saved us four or five days in shooting and budget because she was so proficient. When I fall through the ice, I said, OK, you’re going to run away and look back, and give me your scared face. And it’s one take, and absolutely great. David Oyelowo was there that day visiting, and I said, you see that? I said, she’s putting us all to shame right there.

DEADLINE: GQ Magazine named you its Icon of the Year, and you made a highlight video for them of all your best performances as an actor, with backstories and a memory from each. It’s two years from now and you are reflecting back on this movie. What would you offer up as something to look back on with pride?

CLOONEY: There was a lot in this film that we had to adapt to, quickly. The major one was Felicity Jones calling me while we were in Iceland shooting and saying, guess what, I’m pregnant. She wasn’t going to shoot for another two months. And so by the time she showed up, she’d be showing.

DEADLINE: Many actresses would have withdrawn…

CLOONEY: It was a huge problem. Everyone was really happy for her, and then it’s, go to Netflix and figure out, how do we fix this problem? We shot for about three days with the idea of, OK, we’re going to do a head replacement or we’ll shoot around it or we’ll do all this stuff. And then a problem became an opportunity. I woke up in the middle of the night and just said, you know what? They’ve been on a two-year trip in space. People have sex. And get pregnant. That might happen. Now, this isn’t some low-budget film by any stretch of imagination. I went to Netflix, and said, a third of the way into the film we’re going to change a driving force of the narrative. We’ve got to make this decision, now, but I think it’s the right decision. It was ballsy of them to say OK. Then I just called up Felicity and said, you up for being pregnant? She said I’d love it, and it changed everything. Suddenly, the baby, her baby, her actual baby became part of the way everybody reacted. The other actors looked out for Felicity, and the crew looked out for her, and it drew everybody together. And suddenly there are all these scenes where you feel that, and it makes the ending of the film more important. As opposed to it being a problem, it ends up being a plus to us, and the minute you accept it and improv…you go, we’re not hiding it so if she’s going to be pregnant, then we have to do a scene where we’ve built an ultrasound machine, to listen to her baby. It draws everybody together because everybody wants to name the baby. It gave us all of these elements to suddenly draw the team together closer, and then, by the end, to give you this sense of continuum. I was incredibly proud of our ability to, on the fly, actually take something that could’ve been really trouble for a film and make it an important plus for the film.

Felicity Jones in 'The Midnight Sky'
Felicity Jones in “The Midnight Sky” Netflix

DEADLINE: You had a spacecraft in peril with her aboard; adding an unborn child certainly elevated the stakes creatively.

CLOONEY: My first thought was, it’s like Fargo. We don’t really discuss why Fran McDormand is pregnant, she’s just she’s just a pregnant cop, right? And so I said, you’re just a pregnant astronaut. Strong women get pregnant every single day and do their normal jobs and it’s the right thing to be talking about. But then it became something more…life affirming for a film about a life that was so dark and frustrating. Instead of a challenge, we caught a lucky break.

DEADLINE: You are rounding toward 60 and the ambition of this movie suggests a pivot from movie star actor who directs to director who acts in his films. Is there an actor who made that turn that you particularly admire, whose path you hope to emulate?

CLOONEY: I don’t know if there was one when I was growing up, because I didn’t think about directing then. Once I started paying attention, Sydney Pollack was one. He had such a great run in the ‘70s, and became one of the best. Clint Eastwood has done a really good job, especially later in life and the kind of films he was doing.

DEADLINE: A couple great films will get Hollywood to regard an actor as a serious filmmaker…

CLOONEY: The turn, really, was Unforgiven, this masterpiece of acting and directing where he actually took on the persona that he had built for a lifetime, and deconstructed it. I thought that was a really fascinating thing for him to do. He had enough understanding of what he wanted to do with that. I think actors have an advantage directing other actors, and I found I’ve always been excited about setting up visuals. If you start with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, it’s not just about actors. It was always about trying to pay as much attention to how we shot it as how we acted it, and it’s been a big source of interest for me. I’ve dipped my toe, tried different things. I’ve succeeded some and failed some, which is kind of the way that works.

When you’re working in television, a lot of the directors you’re working with were actors on other shows. So I always had that in my head that, at some point, I wanted to take on directing. But then, you want to get past the point of just directing. Good Night, and Good Luck, Ides of March and a couple other films that I was really proud of doing and I was trying to be more than just an actor directing.

DEADLINE: Those actors found a way to extend careers by directing television. Was your evolution motivated by the same thing?

CLOONEY: It was at the very beginning. ER hit and then I started doing films, and then when I partnered with Steven Soderbergh on Out of Sight, Soderbergh and I both were in an awkward position. I was coming off of Batman & Robin. He was coming off The Underneath. So we each were on our back foot a bit and needed a success, which isn’t a bad place to be when you’re creative.

DEADLINE: Why?

“Out Of Sight” Universal

CLOONEY: Sometimes it focuses you, and Out of Sight is a movie that just holds up like you can’t believe. He and I got to be friends, and we had a real understanding of the kind of stories we wanted to tell. Which was to take all the things that he was bringing into the independent world, and all the aesthetics from the ‘70s filmmaking style, the zooms and lensing and that kind of thing, and reinterpret that back into the studio system, which had long since forgotten it. That aesthetic became a driving force, and Ocean’s 11 has that in it, and other films I did with him. We were pushing those into the studio system, and suddenly, I’m never in my trailer. I’m from Kentucky. We try to stay out of trailers, and I literally would always be on the set, watching Soderbergh and how he shot. And the secret to Steven is that he shoots at a point of view. He doesn’t just gather footage.

He shoots what he needs for the film and from a person’s point of view so he doesn’t get into the editing room and try to figure out whose story it is. Other good directors I work with do the same thing. The Coen Brothers, Alexander Payne, Jason Reitman, really good directors actually have that point of view and are able to shoot and be very specific about it. It taught me a lot. Confessions of a Beautiful Mind was a script that was around and wasn’t getting made. It was just used as bait to bring good filmmakers over to the studio, and then no one wanted to make it. I thought I could get it made, and I asked Soderbergh. I think I’m ready to direct. I’ve been on the set a long time, have been producing and all this stuff. He said great, and he backed my play and said, if you feel like it’s too much, then I’ll be your backup. Never came to the set. Never saw him for a few months after that, while I was away shooting. He came in and gave me some notes after I shot it. Told me, he was going to cut my three favorite scenes. I was like, you’re stoned. And two months later, I cut my three favorite scenes. He was smart about that and I learned.

You know, I’ll turn 60 this year, Mike, and I didn’t want to be 60 and worried about what some casting director thinks about me aging on screen. I love this industry, I love storytelling, and I love the family, I mean the actors and crew, and I love the whole life of it. I didn’t want to be relegated to just showing up at the end, and acting it. I’d be one of the paints as opposed to being the painter, and I just like the idea of the latter. Acting by itself can be pretty monotonous after a while. I wanted to do something. Also I just wanted to have a job when I was 60.

DEADLINE: You don’t want to be sixth on the call sheet.

CLOONEY: Well, there’s some of that, but it’s also that, as time goes on, you become more and more dependent on what other people think of you. Those people change constantly, and so they’re getting younger. And everybody’s tastes are getting different, and suddenly, they’re like, well, we’ve seen this before. Let’s go do something new. And then, all of a sudden, you’re just going to come play grand-pappy on The Waltons reunion show. I just felt, I’d like to have more say in my career and in the trajectory of my life than that.

DEADLINE: You show a decided lack of vanity in your scenes in The Midnight Sky as the grizzled scientist Augustine Lofthouse. He’s ailing from some disease, frail with a full grey beard. Are you ever protective of your on-screen image? Isn’t that part of being a leading man?

CLOONEY: Yeah, it is I think. But I’m not a leading man anymore. I’ll be 60. Nobody wants to see the 60-year-old kissing the girl. They used to do it a lot, but I don’t think it looks particularly all right unless you’re doing Cocoon. And the truth of the matter is, there are only two ways to do this aging thing if you’re an actor. One is to try and hide it; dye your hair and get a facelift and some Spanx or something. The other version of it is to accept aging as who you are and don’t try to fit into parts that you no longer are right for. It means the roles get different, and less, but that’s okay because I’m also working in other parts of the industry. When you say lack of vanity, the truth of the matter is vanity wins, right? You don’t get to choose vanity as you’re aging. It’s like with Donald Trump right now. He’s talking about not wanting to leave. Here’s the problem: you don’t leave the presidency. The presidency leaves you. That’s how it works. And you don’t leave vanity. Vanity leaves you. It’s pretty simple. It’s the same as what we talked about with Felicity, accepting her being pregnant, and then it becomes a plus. Accepting the idea that I’m not the guy that was in Out of Sight is the same. I’d like to be him. It’d be fun to be able to jump up and hang onto the rim again, but I can’t do that, either.

Paramount

DEADLINE: What to make then of Tom Cruise, who’s a year behind you and, after hanging off planes and skyscrapers, now plans to really fly to space with Doug Liman to shoot a movie?

CLOONEY: Well, I know. But that’s always been Tom’s thing, right? Tom has always been the guy who wants to be the daredevil, he always does his own stunts. That was never my thing and by the way, I was never good at that kind of thing. I did a couple action films, and they didn’t do very well. Tom has made action films and has had 15 or 20 massive hits. He’s really good at it, and he seems to be pretty timeless. He seems to just keep on trucking, while I just start crying and throw out my hip. What was he, wired to outside of a plane? You would just hear me cry. The whole way. Let me out! Bring me back in!

DEADLINE: I’m remembering a Deadline interview with Burt Reynolds, as big a star in his day as the two of you. He told me he could point to a part of his body and remember exactly where he got hurt and what film. I asked, you had all these stuntmen who were your friends. Why didn’t you use them more? He said, I guess maybe I was trying to show them I was just as tough as they were. He clearly regretted it because he was hurting all the time from those injuries.

CLOONEY: Well, yeah, he ended up getting really hurt and later in life, it really came back to haunt him. I think Tom’s been a little more careful and times are a little different. You don’t see him taking full-on hits like Burt did in The Longest Yard. So, look, I’m a jock. I play a lot of sports. I roll my ankles and break my fingers; I broke my foot and tore my Achilles, and I’ve been dinged up a lot, so I get it. But I always figure if there’s somebody that can make it look better on film…but again, Tom is great at that, it’s what he does. There will be a day when he throws out his hip and goes, OK, that’s enough, but he hasn’t hit that yet I guess.

DEADLINE: You took The Midnight Sky after you had this scary motorcycle accident while shooting Catch-22 in Italy, where your motorcycle was cut off by a car while you were driving 70 MPH and you bounced off his windshield.

CLOONEY: Yeah.

DEADLINE: I’d heard you read 100 scripts before choosing The Midnight Sky, the most ambitious film you have made so far. How much does that near-death moment of feeling your own mortality influence your choices, and how did it factor into what you want from your career when life can be snatched away at any moment?

CLOONEY: I don’t know. It’s a funny thing. You go flying through the air, and you end up landing on your hands and knees. But my head hit the windshield first, and at 70 miles an hour, that’ll usually mean that you’re not going to make it. I’ve been riding for 40 years, so I knew kind of what I was in for. I thought it was going to be a lot worse, and I have to say, in that moment, career and work doesn’t play into your thoughts much. It’s your wife and your kids and your mom and your dad. But then, later on, as you’re looking at your choices…I’ve been picking things that I really want to do for quite some time now. Not always. I did Batman & Robin and Peacemaker, because I was excited to be offered them. But once I got through that, I understood and it got to be sort of my choice and then it was Out of Sight and then Three Kings and then Oh, Brother as I really focused on screenplays.

Netflix

Now, sometimes my choices have been wrong, but they didn’t start out wrong. I didn’t start out going, oh, I’m going to do this dumb action film that pays me a big chunk of money and at the end of it, has a big opening weekend, and then nobody gives a sh*t about it later. That’s never been the way I played once I had my say in what to choose. It’s funny. I always say, if I got hit by a bus, I wouldn’t have any regrets.

There are things I wish I’d done better or differently, but no real regrets. I feel like I kind of sucked a lot out of life, and then I basically got hit by a bus, rhetorically. And so I was thinking, there’s still a lot more I’d like to do, and then this script came around. I’d read, got offered something like 70 or 80 scripts to do, all different. I’d look at some and go, god, somebody’s going to spend a year making this movie? That’s an awful lot of time to do for something that’s starting in a place where I wouldn’t necessarily guarantee it’s going to have a very good outcome. I don’t believe you could make something good out of a bad script. I think you can make a bad film out of a good script, but it’s hard to do it the other way around. And then I read this one that Mark wrote. The ending surprised me, which never happens. The story, basically, is about what we’re capable of doing to one another, if we don’t pay attention to how fragile this whole thing is, this experiment of mankind. We always feel as if we’re sort of indestructible, but we’re not. Having that discussion, we made it sort of nebulous as to what it was that happened to Earth, because there’s so many different ways we’ve seen we can blow it, whether it’s climate issues or a nuclear exchange or a pandemic, which we are experiencing now but which wasn’t happening while we were shooting. What most fascinated me about the script was it was hopeful at the end, an opportunity for redemption.

DEADLINE: Your depiction of Earth’s chaotic and toxic atmosphere glimpsed from space showed a dying planet. You set it 30 years from now, and it was unsettling. The fires, floods, the storms, they seem to be getting worse each year. What are your hopes in this pivot from a president who never believed in global warming to one who does and who made climate czar John Kerry one of his first appointments?

CLOONEY: I’ve got two 3-year-olds, and you want to have the discussion. The most important part of what you just mentioned is embracing the idea that science is real, and that also comes down to this pandemic. It comes down to the idea that because it benefits an oil company or whomever is contributing to your campaign or whatever that is, doesn’t make it right. The Obama Administration did something. So why are you changing back the gas mileage on cars after we’d gotten them up to 40 miles a gallon? What good does that do? Denying climate change…I did a thing on this in Ides of March, and I wrote all those speeches for myself as a candidate because people used to try to talk me into getting into politics, which I wouldn’t, but I said, here’s what I believe. I wrote a piece that said, so what’s the worst thing that happens? We create a million new green jobs. We clean up the atmosphere. Let’s say the three scientists who say it’s not real are right and the 99.9% of the rest are wrong. The worst thing that happens is we create a green economy, clean up the air and the world gets better. That’s the argument that makes me out of my mind, and I think the Biden Administration, they ran on that and understood and believed in it. The thing about presidents is the times call for the right guy. In 2008, the right guy was Barack Obama. It wasn’t Joe Biden. We needed that proper change and a real definitive mark saying this is who we are. Now, we need healing, someone who understands what it’s like to have an empty chair at the Thanksgiving Day table, as we’re going toward 300,000 people dead. We need that kind of compassion and understanding about loss, and we need the idea of someone who looks at the bigger issues, like trying to end cancer. Take that on as a moonshot. Does it happen? Who knows, but it’s certainly worth the chance. It’s tough to get India to jump on board with climate and China, though China’s already doing something of it. Just denying is the easy way out, and it’s short term and dangerous.

DEADLINE: I drove to New York to see The Midnight Sky in the Netflix screening room. It’s very clear you made this for the big screen, a movie with these vast vistas, both on Earth and space. It has the sweep of Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity. I thought, you’ve made your biggest-scale movie and most people will see it on their TVs because of this pandemic. I recall discussing with you your decision not to take a big raise for ER that would’ve required you to add years to your contract, because you wanted to make movies for the big screen. Has George Clooney come full circle?

Demian Bichir, Clooney Netflix

CLOONEY: Yeah. Well, you know, the funny thing is, most films eventually you see on the small screen anyway. But yeah, we shot it on 65 [mm]. It was going to open in a few hundred theaters, and I was really excited by that. I finally saw it when we finished it, after editing here at the house. We went over to the Village in Westwood to see it on a big screen. Just Grant [Heslov], myself, and my wife, four of us and we had to be completely separated, just to see it on the big screen. And you know, it’s a big difference that way. It was wild, though. They opened up the door. No one had been in there in months, and behind the glass was a poster for A Quiet Place II, which had premiered, but then had to close down before its opening. It was literally like The Twilight Zone. Like, we walked in, and everything had stopped. Like the Morse code in the Stanley Kramer movie On the Beach, when they all went home back to the United States because they thought maybe someone was alive. They were hearing Morse code, but it was just a can, beeping out the sounds. Walking into this theater was like that, literally, the popcorn boxes were still out. It was just like everyone just stopped. It was really wild to be in there. That’s going to be a big challenge for everybody, is getting those theaters back.

DEADLINE: And your reaction to having seen the movie in its full glory, the way you shot it for a movie screen with great sound> But realizing because of this pandemic, most people will not be able to absorb it this way? What is Netflix bringing to the table to compensate?

CLOONEY: Well, Netflix were the ones who hired me and this was designed to be on Netflix. They were incredibly inclusive and fair, and I’d work in a heartbeat with them again. I loved every minute of working with them, with the understanding that 95% of the people who would see it would see it on Netflix. Honestly, the streaming services have created a lot more work for actors and directors, particularly the kind of work I like to do, which isn’t necessarily on a large scale. Is it disappointing that it doesn’t get to be on a big screen? Yeah, man, of course. I worked for two years on this, and yeah, it’s disappointing not to have that premiere and be there with your friends and see what you’ve been working on for a long time, what you put your heart and soul into and worked every day for a long period of time. Having said that, it’s such small problems compared to what everyone else in the world is dealing with. If I’m alone by myself feeling sorry for myself, going, no one’s going to get to see this on the big screen, and we shot it for that…I’d walk outside of my room. Get on a Zoom call with your parents who are in a small town, and you can’t see them, and the town is worried about their elderly. And you walk down the driveway, and everyone’s wearing a mask, all concerned with their health, and you go, well, it’s sort of that Casablanca problem of three people doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, you know?

DEADLINE: You mentioned the theaters, which are on their heels, fiscally strapped and closed by the pandemic while streamers soar and studios shorten the windows movies have to play before they go to ancillary markets. Tech company owners are imposing their will on all studios and upending the way the film industry operated for decades. What’s your view of this tech-centric future for movies? Give a prediction as to where you see the industry going.

Director George Clooney, David Oyelowo and Tiffany Boone behind the scenes of 'The Midnight Sky'
Philippe Antonello/NETFLIX

CLOONEY: I don’t see it being the end of anything. Will some habits change? Yeah, but that was the same prediction with television, and VHS and DVDs. These predictions of the end of movies has been coming for a long time. Movies are still something that is deeply ingrained in us, like concerts are. Remember when the music industry used to just be, you sold an album, made money off your album, and you did concerts to support the album? Now you do an album so you can do concerts to get paid. The album doesn’t make any money at all. People still want to gather. They still want to be in a community together. You want to see a comedy in a room full of people, not by yourself on the couch. So the idea that we’re not going to say, let’s go see a movie with our friends. Let’s go out. Let’s go get some dinner and a movie…that’s still going to exist. Is there going to be a huge number of people that’ll go, I’ve got this great television at home, and I’ll watch that? Sure, but there’s room for both. Right now movie theaters are in just a terrible position, it’s a terrible moment for them. But this isn’t the end of movies and movie theaters. It’s a pause button that most industries are facing across the world. The movie industry’s having to face it and streaming services are picking up the slack. It doesn’t mean that that’s a bad thing. It’s nice to have streaming services to be able to watch something at night. My wife and I are watching Peaky Blinders, because Sophie Rundle, who’s in our movie, is in that series. I can’t believe I’d never seen it. It’s so good.

But the movie industry, theaters have to be kept afloat. And the government has to help them out. Period. They subsidized oil companies. Why don’t we subsidize movies. If you think about it, the movie industry is one of the largest exports of original product around the world. We should protect it.

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2020/12/george-clooney-netflix-the-midnight-sky-interview-1234650422/