By Dan Heching, CNN
George Clooney has a surefire way for staying out of trouble as a public figure in the age of social media: stay off of it.
In a profile for the Washington Post published on Friday, the Oscar-winning actor said he manages to avoid too much exposure to today’s 24/7 media cycle by not engaging on those platforms, which he acknowledges would be problematic “if I have three drinks at night.”
He also shared, “I don’t think you can be a star and be that available.”
It was part of a larger conversation in which Clooney identified how certain movie stars that came before him like Gregory Peck and Paul Newman — both of whom were friends of his before they died — exemplified how to carry oneself in the spotlight.
“It doesn’t mean you can’t be goofy and do stupid things, but it means stand up for the things you believe in, carry yourself with a little bit of dignity,” the “Ticket to Paradise” star said. “And both of them had great humor about themselves.”
Clooney, who is being honored at the Kennedy Center this month alongside Gladys Knight and U2, among others, is active in humanitarian efforts in addition to his pursuits as an actor, producer and director.
Ethan Hawke, who directed Clooney in a voice role as Newman in this year’s HBO documentary “The Last Movie Stars,” observed that it’s no surprise he’s getting such a prestigious honor. (CNN and HBO Max are both part of the same parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.)
“It’s interesting that he’s getting the Kennedy Center Honors this year because Newman got it too. They fit in a long line of really responsible artists, people who make a contribution to American culture and are civic leaders,” Hawke told the Post. “Whether you like George’s politics, or admire where he gives his money and time, you have to admire his willingness to lead, and his willingness to care.”
Steven Soderbergh, whose 1998 masterpiece “Out of Sight” starred Clooney opposite Jennifer Lopez, said the actor is unique for not caring that his politics might compromise the reach of his stardom.
“The default mode really doesn’t lead you to a place of thinking about fairness, or defending people who can’t defend themselves. It’s great when people use that juice for those purposes, but that’s not the way the stream flows,” Soderbergh said of Clooney’s efforts through his Clooney Foundation for Justice alongside wife Amal, a human rights attorney.
“The stream flows in the direction of self-orientation and being in a mode of extracting whatever you can from this business, and whatever you can from the world at large. … He’s one of the few people who punches upward. That’s rare.”
Clooney will be featured as part of the Kennedy Center Honors on December 28 at 8 p.m. on CBS.
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