Ever since the #MeToo movement, many female actresses have been coming out to say that they were hypersexualized or stereotyped at some point in their careers. It can happen to men, too. George Clooney says he was objectified in his early movie roles — and had to work extra hard to be taken seriously.
George Clooney Was Slapped on the Ass, Objectified While Filming His Early Roles
Speaking with The Washington Post, George Clooney reminisced about some of his first TV roles, such as on The Facts of Life, Sisters, and Roseanne.
“Quite honestly, I was objectified,” Clooney said. “I remember doing scenes on Roseanne and I’d drop a clipboard and bend over, and they’d all slap me on the ass. You had to establish yourself as more than that. … Good Night, and Good Luck did that for me, in every sense of the word.”
Clooney played Booker Brooks on Roseanne for 11 episodes between 1988 and 1991. Good Night and Good Luck didn’t come out until 2005. Clooney played American broadcast journalist Fred Friendly. He also co-wrote and directed the film, thus putting himself in a completely different position than he would be as an actor. After all, if you objectify the higher-ups at any job, you might put your own job in jeopardy.
Clooney’s first credited film role was in Grizzly II: Revenge in 1983. Prior to that, he played extras and uncredited roles. That means that it took him over 20 years to feel like he was taken seriously.
Clooney’s Dad and Director Steven Soderbergh Agree That He Had to Work Extra Hard to Be Taken Seriously
George Clooney’s father, Nick, said that his son had to work extra hard to get to where he is today.
“He’s been underrated for a great part of his life, and that’s because he’s so charming,” Nick told the Post. “He has not nearly gotten the credit for the iron that is under that charm, and all the great things he has accomplished. He himself did that. And it was hard for him to do that. It was difficult. … George has that great gift of self-deprecation, and perhaps that adds to people’s misunderstanding of what they’re looking at. He’s had a difficult run. He’s had to work very, very hard.”
It’s true. Clooney has actually admitted that his role as Batman in Batman and Robin—in which he was paid only 1/25th of what Arnold Schwarzenegger was paid—will forever embarrass him. Not only has he been objectified, but he was cast in roles that came nowhere close to portraying his true acting abilities.
Director Steven Soderbergh echoed this sentiment to the Post. “George certainly makes being George look easy and fun,” he said. “And I can tell you that it isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always fun.” Soderbergh and Clooney have worked together on several films, including Out of Sight, the Oceans movies, Solaris, and The Good German.
He’s Been Named Sexiest Man Alive Twice
Clooney has long been considered both sexy and charming, there is no doubt about that. People named him Sexiest Man Alive in 1997 and then again in 2006. He was the third person in history to receive the Sexiest Man Alive title twice, after Richard Gere and Brad Pitt. He was in the running once again this year, but the title was awarded to Chris Evans.
And fellow 2-time Sexiest Man Alive Brad Pitt once called George Clooney the most handsome man alive during an interview. Stephen Colbert asked Clooney what he thought about it, and he cheekily agreed. Then he said he thought Pitt must have said himself, first, before being asked to do a retake. Clooney added that he and Pitt were good friends and getting ready to do another movie together.
On a side note, Clooney once joked about being Brad Pitt’s biggest fan in a charity video for his philanthropic organization. He was featured as a roommate who never left—whose bedroom was completely covered in Brad Pitt’s face.
George Clooney No Longer Felt Solely Objectified After His Comedic Roles
Clooney also told The Washington Post that he felt that comedy was what ultimately turned him away from solely being an objectified sex symbol. He saw that turning point when he played Everett in O Brother, Where Art Thou?
“The Coen brothers allowed me to just say, ‘Okay, just be a full-out character actor,’ ” Clooney said of O Brother. “It’s really very freeing to be able to go, ‘Okay, I’ll wear the stupid outfit.’ ”
He now has 80 acting credits under his belt and a net worth of about half a billion dollars, so he’s obviously made the most of his charm and good looks. Further, George Clooney’s Hollywood clout is probably large enough to say he’s no longer objectified. Although he certainly will always be thought of as sexy. His most recent role was as David Cotton in Ticket to Paradise. He stars alongside Julia Roberts as her ex-husband. The two of them decide to snag tickets to Bali to stop their daughter from marrying a seaweed farmer.
Silke Jasso contributed to this article.