Why George Clooney No Longer Sees Himself as a Leading Man in Hollywood

If George Clooney is one of your favorite actors, you might be surprised to learn he doesn’t see himself as a leading man anymore. The A-lister much prefers to remain behind the camera. Here’s why George Clooney no longer sees himself as a leading man in Hollywood.

George Clooney says fame is like “getting caught in a bug light”

George Clooney | Franco Origlia/Getty Images
George Clooney | Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Fame didn’t come right away for Clooney. He went from being barely known to becoming a household name almost overnight. “Once [the fans] knew your name, you thought, ‘Wow, things have really changed.’ And it happened very quickly,” Clooney told The Hollywood Reporter. However, he says he was careful not to let the fame get to his head. “That kind of fame, it’s like a bug light. You chase that kind of recognition because that affords you the ability to be able to do all the things I’ve been able to do in my life. But it is like a bug light because when you get that close, it really will scorch you.” 

George Clooney’s plan if acting didn’t work out

George Clooney_event | Karwai Tang/WireImage
George Clooney_event | Karwai Tang/WireImage

Clooney originally wanted to become a professional baseball player, but he decided to act after he realized he didn’t have the skill. But what if acting didn’t work out, either? Clooney told The Hollywood Reporter if he wasn’t an actor, he would probably sell insurance or work in television broadcasting, like his father.

George Clooney is focused more on directing

Clooney hasn’t been on the big screen as much as he used to. Instead, he has been more focused on directing. He told The Hollywood Reporter movie studios aren’t making movies he’s interested in. “The studios are less and less telling the kinds of stories that I like to tell,” said Clooney. That’s one of the reasons the actor decided to participate in the six-part limited Hulu series Catch-22, which was adapted from Joseph Heller’s 1961 novel.

Clooney says studios are now focused on big-budget movies, so they’re less likely to produce films they don’t think will rake in the big bucks. “You know, Warner Bros. isn’t going to make Good Night, and Good Luck now; they’re not going to make Michael Clayton, quite honestly, now. So [these movies] are going to end up at Hulu or Netflix or Amazon or Apple or one of those places,” Clooney told the publication.

Why George Clooney doesn’t see himself as a leading man in Hollywood

George Clooney |David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Channel 4 Television
George Clooney |David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Channel 4 Television

Clooney told The Hollywood Reporter he doesn’t see himself as a leading man in Hollywood as he has gotten older. He feels that audiences don’t want to see him kiss a female lead because he has aged. “But I’m not going to do movies just to be in front of the camera. I did that for a long time, and I had a good run. And as you get older, the parts aren’t as interesting. I’m not a leading man anymore. Nobody wants to see me kiss the girl,” said Clooney.

Read more: George Clooney Says ‘ER’ Was a ‘Life Changer’

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