Sometimes an actor undergoes an amazing physical transformation that defines their performance, and it makes for some interesting stories on and off the set. Normally we’d be hearing about these sorts of antics from someone like Academy Award winner Christian Bale, and we’d be intrigued, but not the least be surprised. The surprise is reserved for the times we hear about this sort of scenario from someone unexpected partaking in such a journey, like say the suave George Clooney. And in his case, major weight loss for his Netflix film The Midnight Sky not only altered his appearance-- it sent him straight to the hospital.

In The Midnight Sky, George Clooney plays a critically ill astronomer trying to warn a returning crew of astronauts that Earth is not the safe haven it once was. So to embody the illness of this character, Clooney lost almost 30 pounds to get into character. It was a decision that the actor/director of the film came to regret, as days before he was supposed to start shooting he came down with a case of pancreatitis. Reflecting on how this decision may have led to that diagnosis, George Clooney told The Mirror the following, blunt story:

I think I was trying too hard to lose the weight quickly and probably wasn’t taking care of myself.

If Clooney was only starring in The Midnight Sky, this slight miscalculation might have wound up being a bit of a setback, at most. However, George Clooney actually returned to the director’s chair with his film, which adapts the novel Good Morning, Midnight, written by author Lily Brooks-Dalton. So on top of making the decision to lose the weight for his own movie, the error of his way saw Mr. Clooney not only putting the health of his actor at risk. It also threatened the momentum of the project. He reflected on his eventual recovery, and its inconvenience, as follows:

It took a few weeks to get better and as a director it’s not so easy because you need energy.

On the plus side, George Clooney felt that he benefitted from the experience when it came to playing Augustine-- the astronomer who tries to save those homeward bound astronauts from certain doom. While it was dangerous, and a bit risky, it’s good to know that The Midnight Sky won’t be known as the movie that killed George Clooney. Though he’ll probably remember it as the movie that taught him to at least give Christian Bale a call before he pulls a stunt like this again.

Audiences will be able to see the results of this perilous filmmaking process in The Midnight Sky, which is currently in limited theatrical release. But if you’re not up to going to the movies, the film will be on Netflix’s streaming library as of December 23rd. And if you’re in the mood for more than just spacefaring adventure, head over to our 2020 release schedule to chart a course to the entertainment destination of your choice.

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