PROM­ISE OF LIFE TO COME

As in any Dis­ney movie, in To­mor­row­land noth­ing is im­pos­si­ble, which sums up star Ge­orge Clooney’s phi­los­o­phy on life

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES - SU­SAN GRIF­FIN

Dis­ney re­leases one of their most am­bi­tious movies ever this week, with Ge­orge Clooney in the front seat. The Hol­ly­wood ac­tor, phi­lan­thropist (and se­cret rap­per) says he’ll never be as cyn­i­cal about the world as his dis­il­lu­sioned char­ac­ter.

Clooney knows how hard it can be on set, and as a movie lead, feels it’s his re­spon­si­bil­ity to lift morale when the go­ing gets tough.

In fact, in the past, he’s con­fessed to bust­ing out Sugar Hill Gang hits be­tween scenes. Is he still sign­ing the hip-hop group’s num­bers?

“I do still sing them ev­ery once in a while to en­ter­tain the troops,” says the 54-year-old. “They think, ‘Gosh. We’re in the wa­ter. It’s cold. We’re shoot­ing 14 hours. It’s ter­ri­ble. What could be worse?’ And then I rap ...” he adds with a laugh.

Clooney stars as Frank, a dis­il­lu­sioned in­ven­tor, in Dis­ney’s To­mor­row­land: A World Be­yond.

Writer and direc­tor Brad Bird only ever en­vi­sioned him in the role, in­fus­ing Frank “with a cur­mud­geonly hu­mour and a heroic qual­ity, all of which we think Ge­orge em­bod­ies”.

And much to his – and cowriter Da­mon Lin­de­lof’s – re­lief, the eight-time Academy Award-nom­i­nated ac­tor/direc­tor/pro­ducer was in­trigued by the project.

“Putting me in a sum­mer movie is a very bold thought,” says Clooney.

“Y’know, lis­ten, first and fore­most, I think it’s a re­ally bold thing for Dis­ney to be will­ing to do a film that isn’t a se­quel and isn’t a comic book, and to truly in­vest in a sum­mer film of this sort of ilk,” he ex­plains, smil­ing.

The ori­gin of the am­bi­tious movie stems from Walt Dis­ney him­self, an op­ti­mist and in­no­va­tor who be­lieved that tech­nol­ogy held the key to build­ing a bet­ter world.

In 1955, he cre­ated To­mor­row­land as a sec­tion of Dis­ney­land, and later in­tro­duced three rides for the 1964 World’s Fair in­clud­ing It’s A Small World, in ref­er­ence to the world find­ing it­self on the brink of nu­clear war as a re­sult of the Cuban mis­sile cri­sis. “I ac­tu­ally grew up dur­ing the Cold War pe­riod, and although we al­ways thought the world would end in some sort of nu­clear holo­caust, every­body was pretty hope­ful,” re­marks Clooney.

“I grew up in an era where the voice, the power of the one, re­ally did feel as if it mat­tered. We ob­vi­ously had the ri­ots ... but we (also) had the Civil Rights Move­ment and we had Viet­nam and we had the women’s rights move­ments, and all those things where you felt you could ac­tu­ally have some part of chang­ing.

“So I didn’t ever have that great dis­ap­point­ment in mankind. I al­ways felt that it’s go­ing to work out in the end, and I still feel that way.”

Clooney de­scribes his char­ac­ter Frank as “a dis­en­chanted grump who was a bit of a dreamer as a young boy”.

“Young Frank goes some­where he thinks is the great­est in the uni­verse, and he be­lieves the world is go­ing to be much bet­ter off be­cause of it. He finds out that those things are un­true and be­comes prob­a­bly the most cyn­i­cal per­son one could be,” ex­plains the ac­tor.

Frank iso­lates him­self on his fam­ily farm, and plans to spend the rest of his life there, but he is forced to deal with his past when Casey, a bright, op­ti­mistic teen played by Britt Robert­son, en­ters his life.

To­gether, they em­bark on a mission to un­earth the se­crets of the enig­matic place, lo­cated some­where in time and space, known only as To­mor­row­land, where, as the movie posters tell us, “noth­ing is im­pos­si­ble”.

“What I loved about the film was that it re­minds you that young peo­ple don’t start out their lives cyn­i­cal or an­gry or big­oted. You have to be taught all those things.” But then Clooney is, he says, an op­ti­mist.

“I’ve been a re­al­ist – but I’ve been an op­ti­mist about it,” he clar­i­fies, laugh­ing.

Ge­orge Clooney as Frank Walker

in To­mor­row­land: A World Be­yond.

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