Hollywood Notebook: George Clooney causes weighty problem for Matt Damon

The Fresno BeeFebruary 8, 2014 

George Clooney has a reputation for playing practical jokes on the set.

But the tricks he may have played on the cast of his latest movie, "The Monuments Men," will never be known. The actors had to sign a paper stating they would not reveal anything that might — or might not — have happened.

Clooney suggests there weren't a lot of practical jokes because he was too busy directing and starring in the film. But that leaves the door open for there having been a few.

Matt Damon gets around the agreement by pointing to another source. Each time Damon returned to the set, he noticed that his clothes felt tighter.

During the filming, Damon was bouncing between his home in New York and the shooting location in Germany.

"I READ somewhere that he (Clooney) took in my wardrobe by an eighth of an inch every other day," Damon says. "He knew that would mean I would be concerned with how to lose the weight. I thought it was really weird because I had been going to the gym."

Clooney jumps in, saying Damon would eat a grape and think he was getting fat.

Damon looks at Clooney and says, "It's nice to have friends like that."

In the army now

Keith David — not to be confused with David Keith, who was in "An Officer and a Gentleman" — is always fun to interview because of his booming voice.

The first time I talked to him was when he provided the voice of Goliath in the animated series "Gargoyles." Since then, he's gone on to be the voice of Spawn in the animated series of the same name and Sgt. Foley in the video game "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2."

David has appeared on screen in a long list of TV and film roles, too. You can see him as Sgt. Major Cody in the new FOX comedy "Enlisted." He likes the new series because it shows the military in a different light.

"Usually, when you see something military, it's very serious, gung-ho, blah, blah, you know. But the guys do have a laugh. We can talk about how real or not some of those scenes are in 'Apocalypse Now,' with the guys surfing and in the South Pacific. Once in awhile, you do have some fun, and I think that that's equally as important to show that aspect as it is to show how difficult it is to be deployed and over there," David says. "This is not really about that. This is what we do here and how we take care of our own here and how important it is to take care of the families of those deployed soldiers so that when they come home, it's a little less stressful."

It's interesting — at least to me — that David is back in uniform. One of his most memorable performances was in the feature film "Platoon." Whether it's a serious or funny approach, David takes any role dealing with the military very seriously.

"My stepfather was a World War II vet. In some small way, I'm always saying, 'Hey, Dad, here's to you,' " David says.

He loves the "Enlisted" role because he's sort of the "papa bear" taking care of these troops. His character served with the three main characters' father and promised he'd take care of them.

"So when he passes on, I get that responsibility and I take that seriously. And it's a wonderful thing. The relationships that are garnered in the service like this, and the men who serve under them, those are wonderful things that we don't talk about. We don't really talk about what it's like being a man's man. What is it like having those kinds of bonds. Here's an opportunity for us to to talk about that," David says.

And, he talks about it in a deep, deep voice.

Can't wait

Several fans of Veronica Roth's best-selling novel, "Divergent," have been asking when the movie based on the book will open. It's scheduled to hit the big screen on March 21.

For those of you not familiar with the books, it's an action-adventure story set in the future where people are divided into five different factions based on their personalities. I would be with the grumpy and cranky.

A problem comes up when Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is told she doesn't fit in any one group. People who can't be pigeon-holed are classified as being Divergent. And, the Divergents aren't popular.

If you can go to this column on www.fresnobee.com, you can watch the final movie trailer for "Divergent."


TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, rbentley@fresnobee.com or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.

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