George Clooney Took Pay Cut for Monuments Men, Recalls Being Held at Gunpoint in Darfur
A man after his own art! George Clooney's most recent artistic pursuit, Monuments Men, required some wooing and having the film's star-studded cast take rather large pay cuts, he revealed in a new interview with Variety magazine.
The actor revealed that the movie's actors -- Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, and Jean Dujardin -- were paid a 10th to 15th of what they usually make in a movie role. "If you pay everybody a full boatload, it’s a $150 million film," Clooney told the magazine. "You just can't do it," the seasoned star added of Monuments Men's $70 million budget cap. "Everybody worked for super cheap, like crazy cheap."
Clooney admitted, however, that he was able to negotiate a deal where the cast would reap benefits if the movie makes a profit, which was the case with the Ocean's Eleven franchise. The seasoned star was also able to secure some cast members simply by maintaining good relationships, and in Blanchett's situation, by wooing her face-to-face. (Clooney flew directly to Australia to offer her the role of art historian. Luckily, she accepted.)
One to pursue a strong narrative, Clooney referred back to a trip he once made to Western Sudan, where he was robbed at gunpoint: "We got stopped in the middle of nowhere, where we shouldn’t have been," the actor shared with Variety of his 2007 documentary work in Darfur. "A little 10-year-old kid came over with a Kalashnikov assault rifle to my head, basically wanted to get us out of the truck."
Back in 2008, Clooney told British men's magazine Zoo Weekly, "They pointed guns at us and stole what they could. It happens all the time."
After the dangerous encounter, Clooney returned to the States and co-founded Not On Our Watch in 2008 alongside Hollywood pals Damon, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, United Artists CEO Jerry Weintraub, and human rights lawyer David Pressman.
The activist's latest film Monuments Men hits theaters Feb. 7.