Here’s my ‘one-on-one’ with George Clooney…

THIS freelance lark is pretty difficult but nobody told me you could just make stuff up. Hell, if I’d known that I’d be flying by now.

I have just read that Hello! magazine carried a “one-on-one” interview with George Clooney that turned out to be a “complete fabrication”.

The celebrity mag has apologised unreservedly and said it bought the rights to the interview in “good faith” from a creative agency. A very creative agency, ho-hum, as the whole interview had been made up.

In the interview that never was, Clooney apparently spoke about his relationship with his lawyer wife Amal, and how the key to their marriage was that they never spent more than a week apart.

He said (or didn’t say): “We have a very strong connection and she’s an extraordinary woman doing great work. We’re both committed and shared a common concern for causes like the refugee crisis, but what really brings us together as a couple is the fact that we’re good friends and we enjoy each other’s company.”

Not a bad effort, I guess – just the sort of bland ‘revelations’ celebrities sometimes make. But George wasn’t impressed. In a statement he said: “I have never given an interview to Hello! magazine and the quotes attributed to me are not accurate. To have an ‘exclusive interview’ completely fabricated is something new. And a very disturbing trend.”

Now I like George Clooney, with one reservation which I will discuss with him in a moment in my own made-up interview. He’s an actor who mostly appears in good films. He’s a director of decent movies. He’s a liberal political activist. And he has the sort of impossible greying good looks I search for in the mirror each morning. Sadly, George never looks back. Just me.

He also doesn’t mind appearing in numbskull roles in films by the Coen Brothers. Now I love their films. Their latest effort, Hail, Caesar!, is a gloriously deadpan comedy about the golden age of the movies when films were churned out on a bizarre production line. Clooney is cast as Baird Whitlock, film star and giant clunk – the fourth time the Coens have written a dopey role for him.

So George, those Coen Brothers have really got it in for you, haven’t they?

“Yes, they like to cast me as an idiot. I really don’t know why. But every time a script arrives from Joel or Ethan, I skim through the lines, looking for what they want me to say. But the thing is, these people aren’t really idiots – not to me, at least. I feel sad when people say I always play idiots for the Coen Brothers.”

“But you are very good at being an idiot, George.”

“Thank you – and you’ll find the door over there.”

“Before I go, can I ask you about Dr Doug Ross – you must feel you owe him a lot.”

Here Clooney’s brown eyes moisten a little. “Yeah, that guy was good for me. But I can’t watch ER nowadays. I’m so young in that damn drama. Look at all the grey hairs now.”

“But you look so distinguished, George.”

“Thank you – you can stay a little longer.”

“Now you’re well known as a political activist and Hillary Clinton supporter. So what do you make of Donald Trump?”

For a moment all his usual geniality evaporates and Clooney growls: “He’s just an opportunist. Now he’s a fascist; a xenophobic fascist.” [Important note: that reply may just have wandered in from an interview Clooney gave to the Guardian; you know, a real interview].

“Now I’d like to ask the coffee question, George?”

“Oh yes?”

“Do you really drink coffee made from those silly capsules you advertise on television?”

“What can I say? They’re the best…”

Clooney leans forwards and whispers: “Beans every time, Julian. Never touch the things at home but buy beans and grind them myself.”

“And you must be able to buy the best beans, George.”

“Oh yes – especially with the money they pay me for promoting that stuff.”

“Thank you, George. It’s been a pleasure.”

His handshake is firm and he twinkles at me with those brown eyes…

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