May 20, 2015 / 3:13 PM / 4 years ago

A Minute With: George Clooney on 'Tomorrowland' and yelling at kids

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - When actor George Clooney was handed a script to play an angry, 55-year-old man in the Walt Disney Co film “Tomorrowland,” his first thought was, “Why did you write that for me?”

Cast member George Clooney talks to the media during a news conference at the City of Arts and Sciences ahead of the premiere of the movie "Tomorrowland" in Valencia, Spain, May 19, 2015. REUTERS/Heino Kalis

Clooney, 54, is known for portraying suave, charismatic leading men, but for “Tomorrowland,” out in theaters on Friday, the actor told Reuters he reveled in playing grumpy old guy Frank Walker.

Q: How will the utopia of “Tomorrowland” resonate in a time of numerous dystopian movies?

A: Everything you see is apocalyptic now, and that’s a fun thing to do. Films often reflect the moods of a country or the world at times.

Every time you turn on the TV, it’s been pretty tough and hard on your soul, and this was a version of storytelling where they said it’s not inevitable. There are better versions, but you have to be involved and you have to participate. And I liked that. I thought it doesn’t feel like you’re getting fed medicine. It was just a little bit of a message in a big entertaining film.

Q: Frank has an interesting relationship with Athena (Raffey Cassidy). As a boy he fell in love with her, but he grew older and she didn’t. What was the biggest challenge in conveying that connection between a man and a young girl?

A: Without giving anything away, there’s a very fine line we’re walking between being very weird, and so that was always something we constantly discussed, not just shooting it, but even in the editing process.

That was the most delicate thing I think for all of us in this part of the storytelling, making this an inventive story without making it too weird.

Q: What was your favorite thing about playing grumpy Frank?

A: It was fun just to be able to yell at the kids, that was good fun. ... When I did “ER,” I played a pediatrician and I got to every once in a while yell at a kid, and it is fun. It does make you laugh, because you would be talking with the kids just before you shoot and then it’s like ‘Let’s go shoot,’ and I’ll be like ‘Hey, shut up.’ And the minute they say ‘Cut,’ everybody starts laughing.

Q: Yelling at kids, who doesn’t love that?

A: (laughing) I mean, come on, you can’t do it in real life, because it’s wrong. But in movies, it’s fun!

Editing by Mary Milliken

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