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George Clooney ('Solaris') George Clooney ('Solaris')
'It's Time For Me To Fly'

George Clooney headlines an all-star cast and crew in 'Solaris'. With Steven Soderbergh and James Cameron behind the scenes, the A-list trifecta tell the tale of a space station crew orbiting a planet that manifests people from their past. Chris Kelvin (Clooney), gets a visit from his dead wife (Natascha McElhone), and must decide if he can or should bring her back to earth. To Clooney, this philosophical and ethical journey does not make him a hero. "No, I think he's just a survivor," Clooney responds."In the last year and a half, we've redefined what a hero is, so we find that everyday people performing their duties in everyday situations become very heroic. So, in that sense, he is a hero. But more than anything, he's just someone coming to terms with not just his own mortality but understanding. I loved that question, if given the same shot again, are we going to make all the exact same mistakes? Am I going to recreate this woman that I loved back into the same exact situation? Or, is my character going to do that? I don't think it's heroic necessarily. It's just behavioral."

What were the challenges of playing the role of Kelvin in Solaris for you? "I think the part that was scary, is that you had to go in with Steven, and let go of all the things that you've done before. And then trust when he says, you know, do this. Because it's hard to not question. And it's hard when you've got twenty years of acting experience and you think, maybe I should protect myself. But it's not hard to do it with Steven. If you're going to do it, you do it with Joel and Ethan Coen. And with Steven, and with all the directors that you trust."

Why do you think you and Steven have such great chemistry together? "We seem to have the same taste in things, and we seem to work the same way. And we're also both in the position to fight for films that we want to see get made. I don't know how long that will last, but right now we're really digging it."

As much of the film is comprised of silences, how did you mentally prepare for such a script?! "This wasn't something that you pulled out a bunch of scenes and then you filled it with silence," he explains. "This is like a 73 page script. The intent from the very beginning was that you're going to allow these moments to play. That was really attractive as an actor from the very beginning. You never see that anymore. We're so into quick cutting everything, just seeing something sitting still is amazing."

How about that, well, rear end exposure you get in 'Solaris'!? "it's funny, that's a perfect example of marketing buzz. Before any press started on the film, all of a sudden we hear it got an R rating because of that. And it's fairly obvious it's a studio leaking out something, just to get something going. But who gives a damn if it's got an R rating or not? It's not going to harm this film. So clearly, that was their first way of trying to generate something. But in all fairness, it's a difficult movie to make a trailer for. And I think avoiding space is a dumb thing, but that's just me. And it's funny, when we made Out of Sight, that was the worst marketing campaign ever for a good film. But it seems that I always find myself in the middle of stuff like that!'

Finally, knowing the fickle state of the industry, will it be behind you on this 'exploratory' film? "People bitch all the time about the fact that studios make cookie cutter films! Well, 20th Century Fox backed this movie and never blinked. I think it would be really lame if people didn't address that. You can't just bitch about that and then when something comes along not acknowledge, whether you like the movie or not, that 20th Century Fox, Rupert Murdoch's company, made a pretty unusual movie. We made it for a reasonable price. We were really responsible about it. They read the script, they saw the dailies and they knew what they were getting. But still, it's I think one of the most unusual studio movies to come along in a while and they let us make it the way we thought it should be made."

Interviewed by Richard Potter for Exclusive Magazine

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