Clooney says writing, starring in ‘Suburbicon’ was ‘a fun ride’

Written by By Sia Williams, CNN London

A short film filmed in Brooklyn by Academy Award-winning actor George Clooney is set to come to life at a fashion event on Friday in London. The movie tells the story of an ex-convict, played by Tyler Kenderdine, who works at a shoe store in a high-end shoe store — and dreams of making it big.

Clooney, who co-wrote the script, calls his “desire for storytelling and empathy universal.” When asked what attracted him to the story, Clooney says, “What attracted me was just the classic Brooklyn story, I like classic characters.

“This neighborhood is one of my favorite places in New York City, a really interesting mixture of white and black, there are mixed communities here.

“I think (these) people are really interesting, a hardscrabble place to live, with a lot of pride. It’s a place where people are slowly rebuilding their lives. A lot of these people are rebuilding their lives by wearing shoes. They’re a down on their luck community and as I say in the film they have great hope for the future.”

Tyler Kenderdine, 2, is the first actor signed by George Clooney’s production company, Smokehouse Pictures. Credit: Smokehouse Pictures

Clooney, whose production company Smokehouse Pictures has a deal with Apple, began shooting the film in Brooklyn in September 2017 and has stayed in the area for the past two years. Clipping lyrics from Hunter S. Thompson’s “Hell’s Angels” to outline a sound track for the film, he explains that the making of “Suburbicon” was “a fun ride.”

“It was a similar schedule to ‘Ocean’s Eleven,’ like it was that quickly that we just wanted to get started,” Clooney says. “It was fast going, I don’t think we didn’t have a day off for 16 days.”

The movie stars Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, Matt Damon and Jeremy Strong, and explores an uneasy racial tension in the 1950s. It’s thought the film was inspired by the events of 1970s Detroit in which riots broke out over the city’s divisive welfare state.

Sister of Tyler Kenderdine, Nia, speaks to the media at the London premiere of the movie “Suburbicon” on Wednesday. Credit: BULENT KILIC/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Sister of Kenderdine, Nia, speaks to the media at the London premiere of the movie “Suburbicon” on Wednesday. Credit: BULENT KILIC/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

But Clooney says the film is much more than a fictionalized Detroit.

“It’s more that the theme that runs through the entire film is identity, and who you are when you walk outside your door,” Clooney says. “You don’t want to do wrong. In the time period we film, unemployment was higher, so people were trying to find something they could be good at.”

“My wife, Amal, and I have two Italian children and a lot of the cast are European, so (we hoped) we could get their accents right. I don’t know if they were trying to get an Italian accent!”

According to Clooney, the next project he is planning to shoot is “a game changer” that he says “defines a generation.”

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