You'd assume the planet's most recognizable movie star leads a cushy lifestyle. For George Clooney, however, that hasn't always been the case. In this week's Hollywood Reporter, the actor talks candidly about loneliness, anxiety, and wrestling with pain after filming "Syriana" in 2005. (Clooney suffered a back injury while shooting a torture scene.)
"I knew immediately [how serious it was]," said George about the "Syriana" injury. "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."
After discovering the injury caused spinal fluid to leak out of his nose, he went through an extremely painful treatment, where he even contemplated suicide.
"I had a two-and-a-half-inch tear in the middle of my back and a half-inch tear in my neck. The doctors did these blood patches, where they tie you down to a bed, and you're awake because they have a long needle and need to know if they're touching your spinal cord. And they take blood out and shoot it directly into your spinal column to try to get the blood to coagulate in those spots. I did about 15 of those over 15 days. ... I thought I was going to die. Talk to any doctor about a CSF -- a cerebral/spinal fluid leak -- and they'll tell you it's way up there on the pain scale. There was this whole coming to terms with [mortality]"
This isn't the first time Clooney shared his suicidal thoughts; the actor told Rolling Stone that his "Syriana" injury made him consider ending his life, but that he never actually mentally got to that place.
In addition to his injury meditations, Clooney also detailed his time in the Sudan, where, during one trip, he was held at gunpoint.
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." Luckily, a colleague just walked over to an assailant and pushed his gun away as if speaking to a child and said, "No." "I couldn't believe it was that simple," Clooney marvels, "because I was embarrassed at how scared I was."