George Clooney credits his father, journalist Nick Clooney, for making him an actor before he actually set out to become an actor.
When he was about nine years old, his dad would recruit him for bits on the elder's Cincinnati-based variety program, "The Nick Clooney Show."
"My dad would put me in a leprechaun outfit, and give me a cigar and set me on a chair and interview me as Saint Patrick," he remembered, while also sharing a preview of the grizzled, gruff voice he'd use in the sketch. "That never felt like acting; that just felt like, you know, playing because it was really just like having a great big playground."
Decades later, Clooney, an accomplished actor, writer, producer, director, activist and two-time Sexiest Man Alive (he'll remind you with a wry grin that he's received the honor twice), is still, sort of, just playing.
He's on screen a little less often, yes, but the world is still ripe with stories he'd like to tell.
Clooney's sixth film as a director, "Suburbicon," explores timely social themes like building fences and scapegoating minorities in the context of a dark comedy. It was a long-gestating project he was determined to make.
"Here's the funniest thing about my career: I've been given this toy box to play with. In this toy box, I get to use all of the elements -- writers and directors and crew members...and I get to play with it," he said. "Anyone who knows anything about the history of filmmaking knows that they take that toy box away at some point. So, while they're letting me still play in it, I'm going to keep pushing the envelope and doing things that aren't easily made."