George Clooney Discusses His Decision to Shoot Good Night, and Good Luck in Black and White: Really, the first and only thing to define it was that we were going to use the archival footage, and it would just stand out so badly if we did it any other way. But then we also, Grant [Heslov, writer/producer] and I started talking about knowing that it was going to make it very hard to sell. It made it very hard to sell. It made it shockingly hard to sell. You'd think that, at this point in my career, if I'm going to write it for a dollar and direct it for a dollar and act in it for scale as the second biggest part of the film that I could get $7.5 million raised to do the movie - and it took us forever. We did it piece by piece by piece to get it. But I only know Murrow and McCarthy in black and white. I've never seen them in color and I don't know anything about them in color. So I think that you have to film things in the way that you remember them.
I started going through some art films in the beginning because I thought that maybe I'd shoot it on Super 16 and try to get those lenses and something like that, and realized that that was a dumb way to do it. Then I started going back to the documentaries. I looked at the documentaries like 'Crisis' and 'Primary' and ones like that. I thought that was a better way to do it, so that I could make it more of a fly on the wall kind of look. But black and white was the only option.
It's funny. We shot it on color film because you can use so much less light. I mean, if you're shooting in black and white, it would take us twice as long to light it. So we have a color print of it that we've seen and it is freaky looking. I mean, it looks like a sitcom. It looks so wrong.
Clooney Shares His Opinion on Todays Reporters and Bill OReilly as Edward R Murrows Successor: That's a good question. Bill [OReilly] would think that it's him because he takes a side and takes a stand. So I would imagine that Bill probably thinks that it's him. I would suggest that, first of all, I don't think there is a lack of journalism. There isn't a reporter that I knew and I grew up with them that doesn't want to break a big story. I mean, there really isn't. That's the fun of it. The problem is that sometimes when you ask a tough question, you get sent to the back of the press conference room and you lose access and then you've traded away one story for the entire network's access. So that's how it's censored. It's not that you can't ask the question. It's just that you might get, 'Okay, you're done. Go to the back of the room.'
I've seen and talked to network news anchors who have told me stories of how, 'I'd like to say this, but if I do I'm gone.' I thought that was too bad. And, look, there are kids getting killed in Afghanistan and Iraq everyday getting stories. I think that there is a great amount of beautiful journalism going on. I think that there is a lot of crap out there and it's a different world now. There are three networks. That's the difference. It's a 24 hour news cycle. It's 150 channels. It's all of that, and it's going and looking for it. Ninety percent of the news that America gets is from television now, I think. People don't read anymore.
George Clooney on CBS, Archival Footage, and Smoking: Well, there's two issues. CBS was very helpful with the archival stuff. Les [Moonves] is an old friend of mine. It's funny because he did this interview and he's getting a lot of crap for saying that I'm going to change the news into MTV-style. They're using me as sort of this battering ram against him. I called him up and said sorry. But he was instrumental in helping us to get the archival footage because it was hard. And it's expensive for a $7.5 million film. That's a lot of money.
The smoking commercial I put in because we're smoking so much in the film. I'm not going to not smoke in this film. It's accurate. Two thirds of those guys died of lung cancer, but it's real. There is this sort of white washing now that wants you to take out cigarettes from movies. In fact, there are policies at the studio. You'll get a memo that will say absolutely no smoking in these films.
Look, I'm a non-smoker and I had nine great aunts and uncles die from lung cancer, including my Aunt Rosemary. I think that it's dangerous to glamorize it, and we make it look pretty good. So I thought that it was important to at least make a point in there about it because it's a pretty manipulative thing. I mean, you don't know it's a smoking commercial when it comes up. I thought that was at least a way to comment again, like we were talking about taking an argument away to go, 'Yeah, we get it. We know that what we're doing is making it look good like Casablanca.' Everyone smoked and you can't change the rules. And you had the doctor even checking your heart with a cigarette in his mouth.