George Clooney talks about Brad Pitt doing dinner theater, brushes up on his Italian and gets serious about Darfur and the maddening nature of malaria in the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter, on stands now.
The Descendants Best Actor Oscar nominee jokes of his Moneyball competitor's acting prospects, "If he sticks it out, he's got a good shot, and there's always dinner theater for him. And I think he would be very good in a like a road production of The Seven Year Itch, that kind of thing. If he doesn't make it he's still got that option open."
Clooney: Brad Pitt's a Very Good Kisser
Of the biggest leading ladies that he hasn't worked with, George says that he'd like to actually share screen time with his Fantastic Mr. Fox co-star Meryl Streep, whom he only did voice work with, and adds, "There's a whole list of actors that I'm such a fan of, you know? I love Emily Blunt -- she's a little young to play opposite me; maybe I could play her old uncle or something like that -- but there's a lot of actresses that I'd love to work with."
On a more serious note, the actor delves into the injury he received while making the 2005 movie Syriana: "I thought I'd had a stroke. It was like a train horn going off in your head and you can't see and you can't stand," he says, revealing that spinal fluid was leaking from his nose and it was none other than Friends star Lisa Kudrow's neurologist brother who discovered that he had torn his dura, the outermost layer enveloping the spinal cord. "I thought I was going to die," he says of the intense pain; in the past he has openly admitted to contemplating suicide: "There was this whole coming to terms with [mortality]."
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It was during this time that the star's empathy for others' pain led to his concern for Darfur, fueling his awareness campaign. Ironically, his efforts to enlighten the world of the Sudanese government's killings of ethnic groups put his health at risk again.
"I got malaria two years ago, and it really knocked me out. I've had a couple of recurrences. I didn't understand that it keeps coming back," he says, pointing out that his last attack was during the Christmas holiday. He also reveals he was held at gunpoint while in Sudan with his father.
"[It was] in the middle of nowhere and we were pulled over by a bunch of 13-year-old kids with Kalashnikovs, and that's where it's dangerous because it's random violence," he explains, adding that a colleague just walked over to one of the kids and pushed his gun away, saying, "No." "I couldn't believe it was that simple, because I was embarrassed at how scared I was," recalls the Oscar winner.
Watch the video to discover George's TV guilty pleasure, see why he wanted to do The Descendants -- and hear him speak Italian!