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Why George Clooney Was Worried About Directing Ben Affleck In The Tender Bar

Ben Affleck stands behind the bar, looking concerned, in The Tender Bar.
(Image credit: Amazon Content Services, LLC)

Any good co-worker knows that being mindful of your colleagues is an important part of keeping the workplace safe for all. Even a big time actor/director like George Clooney understands that, which explains what made him worried about directing Ben Affleck in his next film, The Tender Bar. As Affleck is a recovering alcoholic, and the film revolves around his character tending bar in the ‘70s, it felt like a particularly delicate equation. Through results, and past remarks from the actor question, nothing could have been further from the truth. 

George Clooney was open about subjects such as his near fatal motorcycle accident, as well as his latest directorial effort during an interview with The Times of London. While speaking about his experience directing his colleague in the Prime Video original, co-starring Tye Sheridan, the Academy Award winner mentioned that it was the Argo director's recovery efforts from alcoholism that gave him cause for concern. Thankfully, the resulting film seems to speak for itself, as you can see in the trailer below: 

Much like when he starred as the lead in Gavin O’Connor’s sports drama, The Way Back, Ben Affleck’s past experiences might have looked like a sensitive pairing to the outside observer. However, as he previously reflected during the press tour for the 2020 film, that personal background helped him connect to the role at hand. Still, tackling the angle of a wise family member/bartender doesn't seem to have made Affleck any more uncomfortable than when he bared his soul in O'Connor's film. 

Besides his profession, it doesn’t look like The Tender Bar’s Uncle Charley is a role that ties directly into the actor's personal issues with alcohol. That doesn’t mean George Clooney’s wishes to be sensitive to his actor/collaborator’s well-being are any less important. Rather, the situation shows just how dedicated an actor the DCEU alum is, and how good of a friend and co-worker Clooney happens to be.

Erring on the side of caution is always good practice in a business where personal safety should always be considered. Reading George Clooney’s concerns for Ben Affleck, even with all of the open talk the latter has engaged in with his past, just makes that point ever finer. It also has us wondering how fun set must have been once both men settled into a comfortable groove, with one of those two even confirmed as a consummate prankster.

Domestic audiences can see The Tender Bar in theaters starting December 17th, with Prime Video debuting the film on its digital library starting on January 7th, 2022. That’s just a week before Ben Affleck’s next film, Deep Water, makes its theatrical debut on January 14th. Clearly, it’s a good time to be both an Affleck fan, as well as a follower of George Clooney’s directing output. 

Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.