George Clooney

Intolerable Cruelty

Interviewed by David Michael

“I think the Coen brothers are desperately trying to ruin my sex symbol image ”

George Clooney's days as a wannabe movie star are long behind him. As well as forming production company Section Eight with Steven Soderbergh, he's starred in a series of always interesting movies, including Out Of Sight, Three Kings, Solaris, and Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind (his directorial debut). He reteams with the Coen brothers on Intolerable Cruelty, playing a divorce lawyer falling for the charms of professional golddigger Catherine Zeta-Jones (er, we mean played by C Z-J).

Miles Massey in Intolerable Cruelty is the second idiot you've played for the Coen brothers...

Joel and Ethan have another film they want me to do, Hail Caesar - where I play an absolute jackass. They're talking about it being my trilogy of cowardly idiots [laughing]. Which seems perfect for me. I'm really lucky that I get to work with guys like those; they're so much fun to work with.

You have this obsession with your hair in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and in this one it's your teeth. Why are the Coen brothers doing this to you?

I think they're desperately trying to ruin my sex symbol image [laughing]. They literally said, "OK, we'll do teeth this time." They brought these whitening guys onto the set, and they said, "we'll whiten your teeth for you." I refused: "I don't want you whitening my teeth, dude." I have no idea what the next one will be - I'm running out of body parts.

What was your own experience of divorce lawyers when you got divorced [in 1992]. Was it anything close to the film?

It was fun, man. I recommend it to everyone! No, it was fine. There was a settlement, we didn't go through any trial. No one had any money, so it wasn't a big deal.

Are pre-nups part and parcel of Hollywood now?

I think they are. I don't think anybody discusses it. It gets talked about sometimes, but I don't know of anyone that's said, "Hey, did you get a pre-nup?" Catherine [Zeta-Jones] and Michael [Douglas] just got married, I don't know what their situation is; she probably wouldn't talk about it anyway. I think it depends who's getting married, I doubt Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward [married since 1958] had a pre-nup.

After doing this film have you got the "Clooney pre-nup" drawn up?

Oh yeah, I think I should do that right away. In fact I have one now, and I'm not even married. If I go out to dinner with someone, I make them sign it automatically. It's not very romantic is it?

Intolerable Cruelty is released in UK cinemas on Friday 24th October 2003.