When newcomer Caoilinn Springall showed up to shoot “The Midnight Sky” on a remote glacier in Iceland, she had only seen one film featuring star George Clooney: “The Fantastic Mr. Fox.” But Clooney’s not offended. Instead, he agrees that’s it’s one of his few films age-appropriate for an 8-year-old.
“You can watch ‘Batman and Robin’ because it doesn’t harm anyone,” he admits, but then quips, “It also doesn’t help anyone.”
Clooney’s newest film, set to debut on Netflix later this month, was screened for critics and journalists earlier this week and now, Variety presents a special bonus edition of its Awards Circuit podcast with the Oscar-winning filmmaker and his 8-year-old co-star. Listen below!
“The Midnight Sky” tells the post-apocalyptic story of Augustine Lofthouse (Clooney), a lonely scientist in the arctic who races against time with a mute stowaway named Iris (Springall) to stop a group of astronauts from returning home to a global catastrophe.
Clooney is months from his 60th birthday, and he shows no signs of slowing down. The veteran actor, director and producer is well aware of how lucky he is and he doesn’t take it for granted. His best friend is his co-producing partner, Grant Heslov, who won the best picture Oscar alongside Clooney for producing the Ben Affleck feature “Argo.”
“It’s always been Grant,” Clooney says. “He gave me 100 bucks to get headshots in 1982. We’re a funny pairing. We’ve never had a disagreement, much less an argument. He would sit by the monitor when I’m shooting myself. You tend to not do a lot of takes on yourself, just out of modesty. So I would go, ‘Okay, that’s fine.’ Grant will stick his head out and say, ‘Do another take, schmuck.’ And I’ll say ‘OK.'”
Clooney’s space film also is another solid example of representation in Hollywood, as he casts Demián Bichir and Tiffany Boone as astronauts. Bichir and Clooney met on the awards circuit in 2011 when the two were both nominated for best actor in “A Better Life” and “The Descendants,” respectively.
“You end up spending a lot of time together because it’s the Golden Globes, and you’re on the circuit a lot,” Clooney says. It was those interactions that allowed him to followed the Mexican actor’s career. “I called him up and asked, ‘you want to come be an astronaut?'”
As for Springall, she describes being very excited with landing the part after her London audition, particularly with the prospect of shooting in Iceland. She admits there was a bit of a question as to which parent would join her: “Well, my Dad always wanted to Iceland but my Mom just said, ‘yep, I’m going.’”
Springall is now getting ready for her next film, which shoots in Budapest — a place where she won’t have to dig a hole on a glacier in 40 degrees below freezing.
Listen to the whole interview with Clooney and Springall, including how the two handled the harsh conditions of Iceland. Clooney also discusses composer Alexandre Desplat scoring the movie during COVID, along with his next film projects, “The Tenant Bar” and “Calico Joe,” on this bonus edition of Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast.
Variety’s “Awards Circuit” podcast, hosted by Clayton Davis, Jenelle Riley, Jazz Tangcay and Michael Schneider (who produces), is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in film and television. Each week “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top film and TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every Thursday.