"We just wanted to do it because we wanted to work together, [but] it ended up being not the right thing for us to do," George Clooney said

By Eric Todisco
October 18, 2020 05:00 PM
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George Clooney, Paul Newman
| Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images; Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

George Clooney said he nearly landed a role in The Notebook alongside the late Paul Newman.

While promoting his upcoming Netflix film The Midnight Sky during a virtual chat for the 64th BFI London Film Festival, Clooney, 59, recalled how he and Newman — who died in 2008 at age 83 after a long battle with cancer — almost joined the beloved 2004 romantic drama based on Nicholas Sparks' novel.

“We were going to do The Notebook together,” Clooney said, according to Deadline. “Basically, I was going to play him as a young man, and it was funny. We met and said, ‘This is it. It’s going to be great.’ "

However, Clooney said he got cold feet after he went home and watched a number of Newman's iconic films.

"He’s one of the handsomest guys you’ve ever seen. We met up [again] and I said, ‘I can’t play you. I don’t look anything like you. This is insane,’ " Clooney recalled. "We just wanted to do it because we wanted to work together, [but] it ended up being not the right thing for us to do."

Ryan Gosling went on to play Noah Calhoun with James Garner playing the older version. Rachel McAdams starred opposite Gosling as Allie Hamilton and Gena Rowlands acted opposite Garner.

Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams in The Notebook

The Midnight Sky, based on a novel by Lily Brooks-Dalton and directed by Clooney, follows Augustine (Clooney), a lonely scientist in the Arctic racing to stop a group of fellow astronauts (led by Felicity Jones) from returning to earth after a global catastrophe decimates humanity. The film also stars Kyle Chandler, David Oyelowo, and Tiffany Boone.

During Sunday's virtual screen talk, Clooney recalled learning that Jones, 37, was pregnant while the cast and crew were filming in Iceland, according to Deadline. (Jones welcomed her first child with husband Charles Guard last month).

George Clooney in Midnight Sky
| Credit: NETFLIX

"I was in the middle of Iceland, really miserable, and she goes, ‘So, there’s news. I’m pregnant.’ I’m like, ‘Great.’ And then I go, ‘Okay, that complicates things,’ " Clooney said. “She was so gung-ho. She wanted to do all the wirework. But I was like ‘No, we’re not putting anyone pregnant on a wire.’ "

Ultimately, Clooney said he decided to revise the script so that Jones’s character, Sully, had gotten pregnant while in space. "And it changed everything for us,” he said. “It gave us something to lean into for the end of the movie, which I think ends up being a big bonus for us, along the way.”

The Midnight Sky is scheduled to premiere in December on Netflix.