George Clooney traded jokes with his father, veteran journalist Nick Clooney, before a screening Monday night of the actor’s 2005 film “Good Night and Good Luck.”
The 47-year-old actor wrote and directed the film about legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow, which his father is now using to teach journalism students at American University. Both Clooneys appeared at a screening of the film for students, alumni and others at the Newseum, a museum about the news.
Nick Clooney said it’s important to him that college students can learn from his son’s work.
“I don’t care for that,” George snapped back.
“Never cared for this kid! His sister’s great,” the elder Clooney quipped.
“I always wanted to be adopted, couldn’t find anyone,” the son said, drawing laughs.
The younger Clooney said he grew up hearing about Murrow, and their family took pride in how journalists held the government accountable during the paranoia of the 1950s communist threat. Clooney said he wanted to make a movie to let people hear some “really well-written words about the fourth estate again.”
Clooney, a vocal critic of the Iraq war, said he felt pressure to get the movie right because of criticism at the time that Hollywood actors were becoming too politically active.
“I realized if I was going to do a movie like this, I was going to have to get everything right,” he said.
Part of Clooney’s film portrayed Murrow’s struggle to maintain support from CBS executives for critical reporting on Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
“You will get precisely the news you deserve if you accept mediocrity,” Nick Clooney told his journalism students.
The Clooneys are from Kentucky, where Nick Clooney worked as a TV news anchor before moving to stations in Cincinnati, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. He also wrote a newspaper column in Cincinnati.
Former TV news executive Bill Small, who was president of NBC News and a CBS Washington bureau chief, joined the Clooneys to critique the film.
“It’s kind of nice to see these pleasant looking actors and actresses pretending to be the people I knew,” he said.
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