US actress Sandra Bullock said on Wednesday she spoke to astronauts to prepare for the harrowing space drama “Gravity”, while co-star George Clooney quipped he just used yoga and booze.
“I called and left a message and they called me back” from the International Space Station, a toned Bullock said at the Venice film festival after a press screening of the film.
“They were incredibly helpful,” she said.
“They gave me an inside visual as to why they chose what they do for a living, their love for what is beyond our planet.”
The 3-D sci-fi thriller sees Clooney and Bullock as astronauts who are flung into dark, deep space when a debris shower destroys their shuttle.
“It was the craziest, most bizarre challenging shoot I’ve ever done,” said the actress, who explained she had also worked out intensely and listened to opera music to prepare for her part.
Clooney, dashing in a light grey suit, joked that he had “done yoga and drunk my way into the part” and said the biggest challenge was learning how to “move slowly to mimic body movement in space while speaking quickly”.
Directed by Mexico’s Alfonso Cuaron of “Children of Men” fame, the film induces nail-biting anxiety, with terrifying shots from inside the astronauts’ helmets as they spin wildly and lose all radio contact with Earth.
“We wanted a film about adversity, and used the debris as a metaphor,” Cuaron said.
“The idea was for a film in which we could strip the narrative down as much as possible… a story of just two characters in a very hostile environment who undergo a journey, a metaphor the audience could connect to,” he said.
Cuaron invented new filmmaking techniques to depict spacewalking, including shooting inside a giant cube to evoke constantly shifting light sources.
“We had advisors, scientists and physicists teaching the cast how things would react in space. A lot of the shots required the actors to be isolated, it was a very abstract way for them to perform,” he said.
After months of delay and a huge budget, “Gravity” delivers a Hollywood punch.
Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a medical engineer on her first mission who relies on veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney) to hold on to her sanity and try to survive despite her rapidly dropping oxygen levels.
A soundtrack dominated by her racing heartbeat and the deafening silence of space is punctuated by jokes from Kowalsky: “Half of North America just lost its Facebook”, he cracks as debris takes out communication satellites.
Stone spends much of the film alone, and Bullock said it was not easy.
“I had to create an inner life. I was alone much of the time, and if I had just a glimpse of George while hanging from 20 foot cables I was grateful,” she said.
“I was very grateful for any human contact, even someone’s breath.”
The film’s key message, Clooney said, was about how mammoth a task it can be to “come through adversity and end up with your feet planted on the ground” — a reference to the safe landing on Earth the characters long for desperately.
While director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki produces stunning images which left the festival spectators gasping for air, the humour sometimes detracts from key scenes and the characters have disappointingly little time to develop.
Clooney, Bullock and Cuaron will take to the red carpet for the opening ceremony of the world’s oldest film festival, followed by an exclusive after-dinner party later on Wednesday.
In an interview published Friday with Mike Fleming Jr. of Yahoo! Movies, actor George Clooney took a swipe at hedge funds, saying that the multi-billion dollar investment groups often ruin businesses with their obsession with the bottom line. Then they get bailed out by the government and are never held accountable.
The interview mainly centered around Clooney’s beef with hedge fund manager and so-called “activist investor” Daniel Loeb. Loeb is aggressively buying stock at Sony, but after the less than stellar summer Sony Entertainment has had — major films “After Earth” and “White House Down” did poorly at the box office — Loeb has started agitating for Sony to spin off its entertainment division.
Clooney — whose own quirky production company, Smokehouse Pictures, is headquartered at Sony — thinks Loeb and other hedge fund manager types need to stop thinking they know how to run businesses better than the people who have been running them for years.
The film industry, Clooney said, “is run by people who understand that the movie business ebbs and flows and the good news is they are ignoring his calls to spin off the entertainment assets. How any hedge fund guy can call for responsibility is beyond me, because if you look at those guys, there is no conscience at work.”
He went on, “It is a business that is only about creating wealth, where when they fail, they get bailed out and where nobody gets fired. A guy from a hedge fund entity is the single least qualified person to be making these kinds of judgments, and he is dangerous to our industry.”
Clooney pointed out that Sony produced huge hits over the last calendar year, including “Zero Dark Thirty” and the billion-dollar grossing James Bond film “Skyfall.”
“To have this guy portraying it that Sony management is the bad stepchild and doesn’t know what it is doing and he’s going to fix it?” he said. “That is like Walmart saying, let me fix your town, putting in their store, strangling all the small shops and getting everyone who worked in them to work for minimum wage with no health insurance.”
“Hedge fund guys do not create jobs, and we do,” said the actor, director and producer. “On the movie we just made, we put 300 people to work every day. I’m talking about nice, regular people, and when we shot in a town, we’d put another 300 people to work. This is an industry that thrives; there are thousands of workers who make films. You want to see what happens if outside forces start to scare the industry and studios just make tent poles out of fear? You will see a lot of crap coming out.”
In an interview on Tuesday, one of George Zimmerman’s neighbors referred to “young black males” eight times, but insisted that there was no racial profiling by his neighborhood watch.
Speaking to CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, Frank Taaffe defended Zimmerman’s February slaying of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American teen.
“Neighbor-hood, that’s a great word,” Taaffe said, chuckling. “We had eight burglaries in our neighborhood, all perpetrated by young black males in the 15 months prior to Trayvon being shot.”
“How many of those cases did they arrest people?” O’Brien wondered. “How many of those cases were people actually convicted.”
“One that I know of where the perpetrator was apprehended,” Taaffe admitted. “The young black male went in during the daytime just two houses down from where my my place was.”
“It sounds like you are saying that it made sense to you that George Zimmerman would be fearful of young black men,” O’Brien observed.
“No, it would be consistent that the perpetrators were all of the young black male ID,” Taaffe explained. “All of the perpetrators of the prior burglaries were young black males. … You know, there’s an old saying that if you plant corn, you get corn.”
“If you plant corn, you get corn. What does that mean?” O’Brien wondered.
“It is what it is,” Taaffe replied. “I would go on record stating, of the eight prior burglaries in the 15 months prior to the Trayvon Martin shooting, all of the perpetrators were young black males. … No disrespect to George Clooney, but it was a perfect storm. All the ingredients were set up. You know, the prior burglaries were committed or perpetrated by young black males, George was on his [neighborhood watch] rounds.”
CNN panelist Will Cain, an analyst for Glenn Beck’s The Blaze website, asked Taaffe if there had been discussions at neighborhood watch meetings to look out for suspects that fit the profile of African-American men.
“Young black men were never the topic of discussion,” Taaffe insisted.
“George Zimmerman and his family have contended that George did not racially profile Trayvon Martin,” Cain pressed. “But some of what you’re sharing with us today sounds like you’re suggesting that it might have been appropriate if he had.”
“George did not surveil just one group of people,” Taaffe said. “You’re asking if George profiled one group of people in my mind. And George looked at the whole landscape when he surveilled our property. It just so happened that the prior eight burglaries were perpetrated by young black males.”
Watch the video below from CNN’s Starting Point, broadcast on April 3, 2012.
Actor George Clooney on Sunday said that President Barack Obama was likely to be re-elected, but cautioned liberals not to get cocky “because you will always lose.”
In an interview with NBC’s David Gregory, Clooney explained that the president has “always looked good to be re-elected.”
“I happen to believe that Democrats are just very poor in general at explaining what it is when they accomplish something,” the longtime activist remarked. “If I was a Republican, if Obama was a Republican, I would be selling all of the, you know, he saved the auto industry, he got Osama bin Laden, he passed the health care bill that nobody could pass. If that was a Republican issue, I would be able to sell his presidency as a very successful one. But Democrats are bad at that. We like to pick each other apart. That’s our thing.”
“The worst think you could do is in any way feel safe or cocky because you will always lose,” he warned.
Clooney added that unlike his good friend Matt Damon, he was not disappointed in Obama “in the least.”
“The issues that I believe in and the president that I voted for, I’m very proud of,” the actor insisted.
Watch this video from NBC’s Meet the Press, uploaded March 18, 2012.
Actor George Clooney was in a jovial mood when he was released from jail on Friday, poking fun at himself and those who were arrested with him for protesting outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington, DC.
“It was really rough, you can imagine,” Cloony told reporters. “Have you ever been in a cell with these guys?”
Clooney’s father, journalist Nick Clooney, was also among those arrested.
“It was fun,” Clooney continued on a sweeter note. “We were all in a cell together. It was nice.”
“It is my first arrest,” he concluded, in answer to a question. “And let’s hope it’s my last.”
This video is from CBS News, March 16, 2012.
Actor George Clooney was arrested on Friday outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C.
Clooney, a longtime human rights activist, was handcuffed and taken to jail after he refused a police order vacate the private property.
According to MSNBC, journalist Nick Clooney, who is George Clooney’s father, was also arrested along with Martin Luther King III, NAACP President Ben Jealous, Rep Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) and former Rep. Tom Andrews (D-MA).
The group was demonstrating against Sudan for blocking the Nuba Mountains area of the country from receiving food and aid.
“They were protesting the violence committed by the government of Sudan on its own innocent men, women and children,” a representative for Clooney said. “They were demanding they allow humanitarian aid into the country before it becomes the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.”
Clooney met with President Barack Obama two days after returning from a clandestine trip to Sudan’s mountainous South Kordofan region, which is facing famine due to bombings by government forces that have impeded agricultural production.
On Wednesday, the United States urged Sudan to allow in food shipments immediately to avert a humanitarian disaster, as Clooney accused the Khartoum government of war crimes.
The “Ocean’s Eleven” star said he saw hundreds of people running to the hills or hiding in caves due to the omnipresent buzzing of Antonov planes, from which Sudanese forces manually dump notoriously inaccurate bombs.
Clooney, who is seeking to end what the United States has called genocide in Sudan’s western Darfur region, said South Kordofan was “ominously similar.”
He argued that President Omar al-Bashir and his aides are “proving themselves to be the greatest war criminals of this century by far.”
Watch this video from MSNBC, broadcast March 16, 2012.
– with AFP
NEW YORK — Hollywood heart throb and activist George Clooney on Tuesday said Sudanese government forces are committing war crimes with attacks on civilians — including a rocket strike that he narrowly escaped.
“There’s a difference between two armies fighting and what the Geneva Convention calls war crimes,” Clooney told a foreign policy think tank in New York hours after arriving back in the United States from a visit to the Nuba mountains region.
“We saw that very specifically happening on two occasions: rape, starvation, lack of humanitarian aid. They’re scaring the hell out of these people and they’re killing, hoping and trying to get them just to leave,” he said.
Clooney has long called attention to the war between Sudan and newly independent South Sudan. On a trip in January he contracted malaria. On this trip the risks were even greater, he said.
While visiting villagers hiding in caves since the start of a government aerial bombing campaign, Clooney and his activist colleague John Prendergast, were told quickly to take cover, he recounted.
Thinking that the warning referred to a slow-moving government Antonov plane, Clooney said they failed to hurry. “But it wasn’t an Antonov. It was a rocket and it went boom. We were looking for that area and we got there, but we weren’t expecting rockets,” he told the audience at the Council on Foreign Relations, which was packed for the event.
Clooney and Prendergast, who together co-founded the Satellite Sentinel Project, showed the rapt audience of foreign policy experts a video they’d made in the Nuba mountains.
Shown wearing a baseball cap and unshaven, Clooney looked little like most of the characters he plays on the big screen. In one segment he stands over a corpse, along with the text written: “How many more bodies?”
Other footage shows locals in front of huge rock piles. “For the first time since the stone age, people are living in caves,” the text says.
Clooney and Prendergast left late Tuesday for Washington where they will report on their trip to Congress and to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Clooney said the key to pressuring Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir, who is wanted for war crimes and genocide by the International Criminal Court (ICC), is China, a big client for South Sudanese oil.
“China has investments in there, but right now China is pretty ticked off,” Clooney said. “There’s some movement here. There’s an opportunity,” he said.
“What I’d like is for the president to send a high-level envoy to China,” he said. “We believe there’s a moment in time when we can have a non-adversarial relationship with them.”
Sudan was split into two countries in July last year but have been in constant dispute since. Before the divorce, the north and south fought a two decade civil war in which more than two million people died.
Sudan’s forces overran the disputed territory of Abyei in May last year and have been accused of staging air attacks on the South. The Khartoum government in turn accuses the South’s government of backing rebels in its South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions.
The organisers of the BAFTA film awards have unveiled Miss Piggy as one of the show’s hosts, promising spiky questions for Hollywood luminaries George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
The glamorous pink star of “The Muppets” will be the red carpet host of the British Academy Film Awards 2012 on Sunday, the organisers said Monday.
She is honing her flirting skills as she prepares to meet Best Actor nominees Clooney, Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Gary Oldman and “The Artist” star Jean Dujardin at the Royal Opera House in London.
“Imagine the likes of Clooney, Dujardin, Fassbender, Oldman and Pitt achieving the very pinnacle of their careers by getting a chance to speak with the one and only moi — Miss Piggy,” she said.
“Naturally, I will be asking questions that only moi would dare to ask.”
The bejewelled pig even challenged “The Descendants” star Clooney — who is currently dating former wrestler Stacy Keibler — to a bout on the red carpet.
Miss Piggy declared: “I don’t wrestle girlfriends. However, if George wants to wrestle, bring it on. Best two out of three falls? Winner gets a dinner?”