George Clooney is known as an actor mostly for his role in hit TV series ER. But did you know that Clooney is also a director? Clooney directed 9 films, namely Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), Goodnight and Good Luck (2005), Leatherheads (2008), The Ides of March (2011), The Monuments Men (2014), Suburbicon (2017), The Midnight Sky (2020), The Tender Bar (2021) and most recently The Boys in the Boat (2023).

However, due to Covid, Clooney was forced to direct The Boys in the Boat from his bed. The 62-year-old actor contributed to The Boys in the Boat, a film shot the year before but set to be released later in December 2023, while recuperating in bed after contracting the virus. Using his iPad, he collaborated with his producer partner, Grant Heslov, who assisted from the set.

Working from iPad

In an interview with People magazine, Clooney shared, “I was really unwell. It was my first experience with Covid. I worked on my iPad from my bedroom. Grant managed the camera, holding up the iPad for direction. I’d hoarsely instruct, ‘Faster’ or whatever was needed.”

He added, “We only had to manage this for a week.”

Lately, The Boys in the Boat has faced harsh critique. George Clooney’s directorial project, centered on the victorious men’s rowing team during the 1936 Berlin Olympics under Hitler, has encountered widespread dismissal. Critics have labeled it as “staid,” “predictable,” and “painstakingly wholesome.”

Critics on the film

The Guardian expressed, “This feels like an animatronic museum display,” while The Telegraph called it a “ruthlessly shallow rowing drama.” Clooney’s apparent fault lies in creating a period drama focusing on underdog triumph during an era where such narratives are perceived as unserious or hopelessly old-fashioned.

The Boys in the Boat follows Joe Rantz (played by Callum Turner), a youngster from a struggling background in Depression-era America. He overcomes hardship and family struggles to secure a spot on the University of Washington crew. Guided by the tough outsider coach Al Ulbrickson (portrayed by Joel Edgerton), who becomes a paternal figure to the team, Rantz and his fellow rowers face ridicule from Ivy League colleges and skepticism from the Nazi Germans regarding their capability to represent the US at the Olympics. Financial constraints also hinder their journey to Europe. Meanwhile, Rantz grapples with personal demons stemming from his troubled upbringing.

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Cover Photo: Wikipedia