George Clooney In Depth: Defending His Girlfriend, Advice From Spielberg

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The New Yorker has a long profile (10 pages!) of George Clooney in this week's issue, and it's also handily online. Writer Ian Parker hangs out at Clooney's house, talks to friends and family members, discusses the media, follows him on work at the UN, and offers a thorough biography of Clooney the movie star (although a stint on "Facts of Life" is omitted) and even describes his interior design overhaul. Present for much of the interview is Clooney's girlfriend Sarah Larson, made famous by the pair's motorcycle accident last year. She was recently the subject of threatening voicemails left for the actor.

"You haven't heard the message we had?" Clooney asked Sarah Larson, when they were sitting on the sofa in L.A. "It's about you, you know."

She was a little taken aback. "What?" she said. "What?"

"It's right here. Listen to this." He stood up and tried to make the telephone give up its voicemail. "Is this the volume? Where's the volume? I'm losing my mind." (His friends say that he is not good with domestic technology: he later told me that he had no real idea how to use the Internet; and he had a bit of trouble with the espresso maker that he is paid a fortune to advertise in Europe.) Someone had repeatedly called on his private line, and had then left an odd message. "It's not a prank--none of my friends would do that," Clooney said. He found the right switch, and we heard a calm, middle-aged male voice: "Dude, your friends asked me to give you a message: Dump the bitch before you're sorry."

After a moment's pause, Larson said, " 'Before you're sorry'?"

" 'Before you're sorry,' " Clooney said, with a laugh. " 'Dump the bitch before you're sorry.' " The message was perhaps fan mail of a perverse kind, from a Clooney admirer in some way disappointed with Larson--for being young, or for being a non-celebrity and therefore an interloper. (There's been some unpleasant press, and Larson brought it up with me: "They say that I'm a stripper. There's a ton of stuff about that. I've never been a stripper. You know, just because I'm from Las Vegas I must be a stripper. Because I'm a cocktail server that means I'm an escort.") Or it might have been a wrong number. Larson was not aghast, but she did not seem quite comfortable, either. Clooney, though, was punchy, seeming to accept the voicemail as no more than a test of his good humor: a chance to reconfirm his efficient, uncomplaining handling of the complications of a public life.

He said that, with the help of his police-officer driver, the number had been traced to a pre-paid cell phone. Now they were trying to find out if the suspect had paid by credit card. But--Clooney laughed--"there are certain laws that, you know, that are applicable." And then, to Larson: "It's wild, isn't it? Isn't that interesting?"

"Yeah," Larson said.

The hunt hit a dead end, according to the NY Post.

Clooney also talked about advice from Steven Spielberg:

Clooney once spoke with Steven Spielberg on the set of "E.R."; Spielberg watched his performance on a monitor, and, tapping the screen, said, "If you stop moving your head around, you'll be a movie star." Clooney's career has been more than a search for a still head, but his best performances, in these more modest movies, have involved constraint, one way or another.

Read the whole profile here.