There’s something about being George Clooney that is … well, pretty cool. The Hollywood star came to Japan to promote his new film Tomorrowland along with fellow cast members Britt Robertson and Raffey Cassidy, and director Brad Bird. It didn’t take long for him to demonstrate some of the qualities that endear him to friends and fans alike: an easy going manner and good-natured humor.
When Clooney discovered that Fox Backstage Pass reporter Roberta Ireton had a photo from 20 years ago of herself as a toddler posing with the actor, he deadpanned, “You got it with you? Let’s see it! Let’s see the picture!”
Clooney took her mobile phone, looked at the image, and then responded with a laugh and huge smile, “Oh my God! What happened to my gray hair?”
The actor, who has been known to tackle some pretty gritty roles in such films as Syriana and The Perfect Storm, said it was a great chance to make a movie about hope.
“It was fun to do a film about hopefulness, which I thought was nice,” Clooney said of the sci-fi story that casts him as Frank Walker, a former boy-genius inventor. The plot finds him embarking on a dangerous journey to find a place that exists in the collective memory of protagonist Casey Newton (Robertson) and himself.
He added, “I don’t know that we were trying to give a message. I think Brad might have an idea with messages, but mostly, all we were trying to do was to talk about the idea that the world doesn’t have to end one way if everybody participates.”
Robertson said she also loved the notion that the film looked to the future as a source of hope rather than dread.
“I think, first and foremost, it’s a movie that is fun to watch. People can go into theaters and escape, and just watch these people take on the world and make the best of their future at the present. But aside from that, I learned how to be a little more optimistic in my life—and hopeful—to not necessarily succumb to the darkness that people say our future can be. I am able to look at things in a more positive way,” Robertson said.
Robertson said that didn’t mean that making the film was not without a few challenges.
“I think it was a little bit of both. It was definitely a fun movie to shoot. Every day was like experiencing a new obstacle course. That was definitely challenging, and there were many technical things I had to learn in order to get through those days.”
Still Robertson added, “It’s a very fun movie. It’s action-packed, and it really is kind of like a Disney ride.”
Bird said that Robertson’s Casey Newton character evolved to be such a strong feminist—not as much by design, but by necessity—to tell the story the way he envisioned it.
“I hope people here in Japan come see the film. I think people should come see the film and expect the unexpected,” Bird said.
Cassidy also chimed in on the feel-good aspects of Tomorrowland: “I am really excited. I am glad everyone is loving it, because it is a film that makes you feel good.”
All the positivity from the cast worked for Clooney. “It was fun working with Brad, who I really wanted to work with, and it was fun to get to travel around the way we got to do for the film.”
Now, if he can only doctor that Ireton photo to reflect today’s reality, the actor’s smile would probably grow even wider!
Fox Backstage Pass airs Sat on Fox at 1am; Sun on Fox Movies Premium at 9am; and on Fox Sports and Entertainment at 11:30am.