George Clooney talks catch-22’s, success, and making his own luck


Actor George Clooney
Actor George Clooney arrives on the red carpet for the film "Suburbicon" at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), in Toronto, Canada, September 9, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Blinch - RC1317DE45E0

Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning heartthrob, George Clooney, is back on the small screen in the upcoming series, ‘Catch-22’. He sits down with MiNDFOOD to talk catch-22’s, success, and luck.

Based on the satirical novel by Joseph Heller, Catch-22 – starring George Clooney – follows a troop in the US Army Air Forces during World War II, while they attempt to retain their sanity. Clooney stars alongside Hugh Laurie, Kyle Chandler, and Christopher Abbott in this 6 episode mini-series.

What made you come back to television?

The script. When they called and said, ‘Do you want to do Catch-22?’ I said, ‘No.’ It’s a beloved novel, as we know, and you don’t really like messing with those kinds of things. But then they sent the three of the six scripts. I read them overnight and called and said, ‘If there are three more of these we’ll do it.’ I just thought it’s a spectacular take on a classic story and I was really excited to do it.

Are you playing another nice guy in this film?

Actually, I’m not a particularly nice guy in this one. There aren’t a whole lot of nice people in this.

What does the phrase Catch 22 mean to you?

Catch-22 became a phrase from the book meaning that there’s no version you can win and I think we have all had those sort of experiences. I think in a much more serious tone, the choices that we’ve made in some of the places, like Syria, and places like that have always been a Catch-22. There are no good answers to most of these things. It’s not a very attractive thing to revel in making dumb mistakes and dumb choices. It’s not a particularly helpful place to be in the world, but you know, I hope it gets better.

You spend half your life in Lake Como. Does your family share your love of Italy?

Oh my God, I mean honestly, how can you not love it? The food, the wine, the people, the architecture, the climate. There really isn’t anything not to love about Italy. I used to make fun of the government, but I can’t do that anymore because I’m living in a glass house.

Do you believe success is mostly down to luck?

I’m a big believer that luck is a huge portion of success and I think we all agree on that. When E.R came out, that was a phenomenon. It changed all of our careers overnight, and you have to remember, I had been around for a long time. That’s luck, right? I’d done seven other television series, including the first season of Roseanne, which was a number one show at the time and nothing happened for me. So, I think luck has a big part in it. I think you create some luck – I don’t think it just happens.

How do you make your own luck?

Jack Nicklaus is the wonderful golfer who made a big long putt and somebody said, ‘Lucky putt.’ He said, ‘It’s amazing how the more I practice, the luckier I get.’ So, you create some luck, but you need luck. There’s an awful lot of actors that I’ve worked with over the years and there’s no reason why they haven’t enjoyed different careers. They weren’t somehow in the right place at the right time. I do believe in a big part of that.

How did you react to the fact that in ‘Ocean’s 8’ they killed you off?

I was like, ‘What the f*ck! I’m dead?’ Looks like she’s praying in front of a tombstone, and I’m like, ‘I’m dead?’

They didn’t tell you?

That they killed me? No. I would have thought I’d get a call going, ‘Hey listen, we think we’ll kill you.’ But I’m glad it did really well, and I hope they do another one. I hope maybe they get a female director to do the next one, don’t you?


Catch-22 – all episodes available May 18 on TVNZ OnDemand, fast tracked from the U.S.


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