Written by Gayle Turner
“I was taught at a very young age that your voice has to matter and you have to participate. Every time we turn on the news and see how bleak it is, that it doesn’t have to end that way; there’s a future out there if you get involved. The future is yours to decide what it will be.” –George Clooney
The anticipation of knowing that in just a few moments, THE George Clooney would be walking through the doors and sitting down literally right next to me, well let’s just say I think I remembered to breathe, but I couldn’t say for certain. But the moment he walked into the room, it was no longer about interviewing Mr. George Clooney, but rather just talking to George-the long time friend that everyone has, that immediately puts you at ease, that has you laughing, listening and thinking all at the same time but more importantly, he is listening to you as well.
Last week I had the chance to sit down and talk to George about his role as disillusioned dreamer Frank Walker in Disney’s riveting retro futuristic adventure “Tomorrowland”.
So just how does an actor that we’ve come to love as a doctor and as a thief or even a superhero in everything from action, comedy and romance find themselves finally working with Disney again after all of these years?
“My first Disney movie was a Miramax film, called From Dusk Till Dawn. At first I wanted to work with Brad Bird. I think he doesn’t make bad films, and I just love the kind of films he makes. I know that Brad is an optimist and he wanted to write a film that said that every time we turn on the news as we do and see how bleak it is, that it doesn’t have to end that way; there’s a future out there if you get involved, and I like the idea of it. I loved the idea of the story. I liked the ending, I like the way they talked about those subject matters.”
As he continued to explain what first drew him to the project, Clooney went on to share some of his own personal views on life and living in the world we have today.
“I think that what I liked about the film was that it was a really optimistic way to tell a story and the thought that the bad part isn’t inevitable and if you participate in some way it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m always an optimist I think things are going to work out. I know that when you turn on the news that it’s always pretty bad and pretty bleak but I grew up around a lot of really bad, really bleak times. The late 60’s were pretty rough too but yet I always thought that we would figure it all out along the way. Your future doesn’t have to be this- you have the ability to be involved and make a difference. I saw that in the script and I thought that was a really good thing.”
Clooney went on to share how growing up in the sixties shaped his own outlook on life, and how it made him even more connected to the ideas and possibilities that Tomorrowland brings to the forefront.
“When I was growing up I was a part of the space race era-it was all we could think of. We were eating space food sticks and drinking Tang. Everything had to do with rockets and the Jetsons and everything that went with it. Science fairs were the biggest things in the world to be a part of and I did all of that. I grew up in the era where an individual actually had an effect whether it was as part of the civil rights movement, or the Vietnam movement, or the women’s rights moments and all the other things where people showed that change could indeed occur. If you turn on the television there’s an awful lot of doom and gloom out there It feels like that’s what the world really is but your future doesn’t have to be this. Just as in the movie, you have the ability to make a difference but it’s up to you to become a participant in your own future.
You could see the pure, unbridled delight when George talked about the opportunity to work with the special effects involved in bringing the vision of this futuristic world to life.
“Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with harnesses and other things that bring the special effects to life. Green screen is tricky because you just have to sort of make things up. But, the thing about being an actor is you really don’t ever have to grow up, right? We’re still playing make believe. I’m 54 and I’m playing make-believe. So when they put you in a contraption, and they say “Now you’re gonna fly” I mean, you’re still a 12 year old and you go “Really? Am I going to fly from here to there? Oh yeah, let’s go!” Who wouldn’t want to do that? I’ve always found that part to be magical.”
The admiration and respect Clooney felt for Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, and Thomas Robinson were apparent when he talked about his younger co-stars.
“They were fantastic, and they were really sweet and I think they’re having a really fun time with this, which is how it’s supposed to be. You know when I work with younger actors, I always have to try to remind them that this is the fun kind of job that most people don’t get to do. And if you get to be an actor and work, and somebody pays you for it, you’ve caught the brass ring. Britt is fantastic and her career is just at the very beginning and is going to be really fun. Raffey is spectacular and way too talented for her age, and Thomas is just a really sweet and really funny kid. They all really do not only love what they’re doing, they’re having fun.”
What is the one message that Clooney hopes people will come away with from Tomorrowland?
“Every time we turn on the news and see how bleak it is, we need to take a step back and remind ourselves it doesn’t have to end that way; there’s a future out there if you get involved and become a participant. I think that maybe along the way, it would be nice to remind ourselves that there’s an awful lot of good that’s being done be. The future is yours to decide what it will be.”
Want to know more from my conversation with George Clooney and just what did go on behind the scenes during the filming of “Tomorrowland”? What was the most difficult scene to film? What was the most fun and what, if any pranks were played on his unsuspecting cast mates? Stay tuned next week for part 2 of my interview with the one and only, George Clooney.
Want to learn more about Tomorrowland ?
Visit the interactive Take Me To Tomorrowland Site
Like TOMORROWLAND Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyTomorrowland
Follow Disney Pictures on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DisneyPictures
Visit the official TOMORROWLAND website: www.Disney.com/Tomorrowland
“What if there was a place, a secret place where nothing was impossible? A miraculous place where you could actually change the world- wanna go?”
TOMORROWLAND opened nation-wide May 22nd!
I have been invited by Disney to cover the #TomorrowlandEvent. All expenses have been paid for by Disney but all opinions my own.
Gayle is a lifelong educator by day and avid freelance writer by night Mom to 5, Grammy to 4 she is blessed to share her life with amazing family and friends who encourage her to chase her dreams no matter where they may lead. When not in the classroom, she can be found following her son as he dances his way through life, or working with young performers in free nationally recognized after school children’s theater program that she founded 13 years ago.
Other posts by this author:
Disneyland’s Diamond Celebration is Just Around the Corner
Tomorrowland Event Awaits MouseQuester Gayle
Disney VoluntEARS Celebrate the Teaching Garden’s First Harvest
Behind the Scenes of Disney/Pixar’s “Lava”
Behind the Scenes of Disney/Pixar’s “Inside Out”
Movie Review – “McFarland, USA”