There's no denying that George Clooney is still one of our biggest actors, as well as being a bonafide Hollywood star who's recognized around the world. While the former star of ER is always a pleasure to watch whenever he takes on a new project, he's been involved in fewer and fewer of those as an actor over the past several years. If you've wondered why Clooney seems to have left most of his acting career in the past, he's ready to spill the details on why he simply got tired of acting after a while.
George Clooney is known for his stint on ER, but he had a long string of successful guest roles on popular television shows prior to his big part as Dr. Doug Ross, as well as many gigs on TV shows few of us remember and movies that failed to ignite the public's interest in him as an actor. Once he landed on the uber-popular ER, as we know, his career began to go full steam ahead. As Clooney told GQ recently, though, his eventual decision to step back from acting just came naturally from racking up so many roles, before and after he hit the big time, and said:
I can remember, I did, like, seven television series before ER. A dozen pilots. I'd done hundreds of episodes of television. So if, let's say, you're doing a season of ER, which is 22 episodes, and let's say a movie's two hours long and our episodes are an hour, that's basically like doing 11 movies a year, right? In terms of acting, in terms of all of the choices you're making as an actor, all those things. So you're getting to the point of saturation, of like, ‘Well, I've played it like this, I've played it like that, I've done this, I've done that, I've tried this, I've tried that.’
It might sound difficult to believe, considering the sheer difference in many of the roles George Clooney has taken on during his long career, but it seems like he feels he sort of exhausted his options when it came to finding enough variety to fulfill him as an actor. There are many reasons to stop (or at least slow down) in any career, and backing off when you believe it no longer gives you anything new to explore is definitely a good reason that many fans can get behind, even if we do miss seeing Clooney on screen more regularly.
And, as George Clooney noted, he had the chance to play with a lot of different characters by the time he made the choice to step back from acting. His current on-camera resume runs almost 100 credits long, with, as he said, hundreds of hours of TV alone to his name by the time he left Dr. Ross behind. Clooney then had another decision ahead of him when it came to figuring out his next step:
So as time goes on, you're starting to look around, going, ‘Well, how else am I gonna be involved in this business that I really love?’ I love this business. And I also don't want to be 60 and worry about what some casting director or some young producer or studio executive thinks about me anymore. I wanted to be involved.
Fans have been able to have an "involved" George Clooney for many years now through his efforts as a producer and director, where he's helped bring us projects like Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Good Night, and Good Luck., Leatherheads, Oscar-winner Argo, and the upcoming Netflix film The Midnight Sky. So, it seems like Clooney has found his calling all over again.
The Midnight Sky premieres on Netflix on December 2, but you can revisit George Clooney's time on ER by streaming the series on Hulu. For more to watch in the coming weeks, check out our guide to fall TV!