Friday, October 30, 2009

Not obsessed at all....

... George Clooney is such a great source of, er, inspiration to us all that it's never a hardship to be rung by your editor and asked: Can you give me 1,800 words on Clooney and eligble bachelors? Can I ever.

From The Irish Independent, October 17

TO ALL THE GIRLS HE’S LOVED BEFORE… Could George Clooney really have fallen off the shelf?

IN a great piece of ironic timing, George Clooney is promoting a film that casts him as a rootless wanderer who finally meets a woman he wants to be with. And while he has been trying not to let journalists read too much into his love ’em and leave ’em role in Up In The Air, the internet is abuzz with suggestions that George has finally hitched his wagon to a woman in real life.

Italian TV presenter and sometime actress Elisabetta Canalis launched a thousand gossip blogs when she began sporting a Cartier diamond ring this past week.

Elisabetta – or ‘La Canalis’ as she is known to her Italian fans – has been dating Clooney since July. They met through a mutual friend in Rome, were seen dining out in Milan at the end of July, snapped larking about on a boat in August, and posed together at the Venice Film Festival in September.

La Canalis is now reported to have moved into Castello Clooney on Lake Como. He is staying in Italy to start filming The American, directed by former U2 photographer Anton Corbijn. Cindy Crawford and her husband and Matt Damon and his wife have holidayed with the couple. Damon says his pal’s new squeeze is a “really, really wonderful woman”. So far, so swimmingly.

However, a “friend” insists that smitten George has been showering his new Italian girlfriend with presents and the Cartier ring is just one of them. “It is a sign they are getting serious”, but it’s not an engagement ring, the “friend” told In Touch magazine.

A celebrity’s love life is always a magnet for tittle-tattle, but when there is a hint that The World’s Most Eligible Bachelor might be about to abandon ship, it’s front page news. To this point, George Clooney’s longest-lasting relationship has been with a pot-bellied pig called Max. His 18-year devotion to the animal certainly outlived his 18-month relationship to Kelly Preston who left him Max when she and Clooney split in 1988.

He had the obligatory starter marriage to Mad Men actress Talia Balsam the following year but they divorced in 1993. “I was 28, and in Kentucky when you get to be that age, you're supposed to get married,” he explained several years later. Clooney has vowed he will never marry again which of course has the paradoxical effect of making every woman fantasise about being the one to ‘turn him’.

Kimberly Russell, an ex of Eddie Murphy, was quite open about the reason she and Clooney split around 1996. “We’d been together for over three years and I wanted a family,” she said. Clooney didn’t – at least not then.

There is, of course, something sexist in the implication that every woman who Clooney has dated wanted nothing more to be married to him. Who is to say some of the ladies weren’t the ones dragging their heels at the sight of the aisle? The idea of being married to a talented, handsome, witty, intelligent, wealthy, politically-aware man may not appeal to everyone, you know.

Looked at closely, Clooney’s romantic track record is indicative more of a serial monogamist than of a serial womaniser. He’s not afraid to make room for an extra toothbrush: it just never seems to get as far as adding ‘Mrs Clooney’ to the mailbox.

His next relationship was another three-year stint, with French law student Celine Balitran moving to the States to live with him until 1999. They met when Clooney was 35 and shooting The Peacemaker in Paris with Nicole Kidman.

(Incidentally, Kidman had a $10,000 bet with Michelle Pfeiffer that her co-star would be married by the age of 40. We hope Pfeiffer spent her winnings wisely.)

There was a moment when it almost seemed possible that Clooney might renege on his non-wedding vow. His reasonably long on-off relationship with British model Lisa Snowdon ended in the early Noughties with not a bad word ever uttered between them since. This is fairly typical of Clooney’s endings, whether happy or not – it is hard to find an ex who will gripe about him. He had a little fling with Renee Zellwegger around this time, but she evidently had no problem acting opposite him in
Leatherheads last year.

The Snowdon affair may well have been the relationship that cemented Clooney’s eligible bachelor status. Snowdon was beautiful, but not overpoweringly so. She was a bit girl-next-door. Good Lord, we could be in with a chance after all! Not only was he eligible, but we might be too.

After that, Clooney’s tastes appeared to veer a little onto the wild side. His next affair was with Krista Allen, star of the soft-core Emmanuelle series. He grew close to Allen and her young son Jacob, but again, she disappeared as a ring failed to materialise.

Vegas cocktail waitress Sarah Larson was next in line and he brought her to the Oscars when he was nominated for Michael Clayton in 2007 – a red-carpet moment heralded by the phantom ringing of wedding bells that, again, never tolled for she.

In the year since their break-up, Clooney has been linked with as diverse a range of women as waitress Lucy Wolvert and Indian journalist Fatima Bhutto, niece of assassinated Pakistan president Benazir Bhutto.

To wonder if this will be the year that Elisabetta boldly goes where only one woman has gone before is a matter of speculation. George Clooney’s publicist never – repeat, NEVER – comments on his personal life.

His own remarks on his new relationship have been typically oblique. Publicising previews of Up In The Air at a film festival at the start of last month, Clooney was cheeky when asked who was the current o-pilot in his life. “Well, I’ve been flying Alitalia,” he said. “She’s… I have a nice co-pilot.”

The fact that the role as Ryan Bingham, an emotionally-detached man who is addicted to collecting frequent-flyer miles, was written specifically for him by the film-maker Jason Reitman (Juno) may have given Clooney pause for thought.

Who wants to have these words – spoken by Ryan in the film – put in his mouth? “Some animals were made to carry each other to live symbiotically over a lifetime… star-crossed lovers, monogamous swans. We are not swans. We’re sharks.”
Clooney commented: “The minute I read the script, I understood why I was probably the right person for this job. Part of it requires talking about things that are tricky to talk about for almost everybody but sometimes for me, in particular.
“Things that are cute when you’re 26 aren’t always cute when you’re 48. I’m well aware of that.” It would be interesting to see if the date on that Cartier receipt came before or after that press conference.

With George Clooney teetering on the edge of the single shelf, Hollywood must be casting desperately around for its next most eligible bachelor. But what makes one? This 1937 article from Movie Mirror celebrity magazine seemed sure of the criteria: “Hollywood bachelors, collectively, don't think in terms of matrimony. Not if they are twenty-three, tall, dark, handsome, with Irish wit, and are building up annuities.”
The article referred to a fledgling star called Tyrone Power who went on to marry three times and, post-death, attracted rumours that he may have been more of a ‘confirmed bachelor’ than an eligible one in his youth.
So don’t blame us if this lot of would-be Clooneys are off the market by next year, ladies. A Hollywood bachelor is a fickle creature…

BENICIO DEL TORO: Film nerds had been in love with Del Toro, 42, for years until his mysterious gangster in The Usual Suspects turned the world onto him. He’s an Oscar winner, a manly dude who doesn’t mind gaining weight (Traffic) or burning himself with cigarettes (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) for a role. He’s got his sensitive side (he’s an artist), the requisite string of gorgeous exes (Chiara Mastrioanni, Claire Forlani and other assorted actresses). He’s good pals with Johnny Depp and his name means ‘Of the Bull’ for goodness sake. George who?

LEONARDO DiCAPRIO: He’s lost some of those boyish good looks of Titanic days but 34-year-old di Caprio always manages to hook the hotties (his last two long-term girlfriends were models Gisele and Bar Rafaeli). Like Mr Clooney, DiCaprio has shown himself a man of substance by consistently campaigning on environmental issues. Now a bona fide star and multi-millionaire and currently single, fans would do well to heed the title of one of his more recent films, Catch Me If You Can.

CHACE CRAWFORD: Yes, yes, he’s only 24, but as our lady from Movie Mirror said in 1937: “Bachelorhood, we know, is a fledgling state in which the male flaunts his brightest feathers”. Mr Crawford has certainly been shaking his plumage of late, breaking out from his TV empire of Gossip Girl (he’s the teen’s Dr Doug Ross) into film and winning People magazine’s Summer’s Hottest Bachelor award. He plays the Kevin Bacon role in the remake of Footloose next year. Scream!!

ROBERT PATTISON: Another young un’ at 23 but one who is shaping up to have a wider appeal than squeaky clean Zac Efron. Pattison’s vampire lead in the Twilight movies
have invested his sex appeal with an edge and his dark brooding looks have attracted comparisons with Marlon Brando. He said this year that he “almost doesn't want to have a girlfriend in this environment”. Nothing makes a bachelor more eligible than his reluctance to settle down.

GERARD BUTLER: The Europeans get a look in with Scotsman Butler, 39, who filled out his armour rather well in the Spartan epic 300 and is soon to be seen opposite Jennifer Aniston in The Bounty. He has the looks, the charm and the increasing star power. We will, however, have to caution against the chauvinist he played in recent movie The Ugly Truth and his woeful Irish accent in PS I Love You. Three strikes and you’re out, Gerry.

RYAN GOSLING: Gosling at 28 is already a more interesting character than many of the prettier boys of Hollywood, with his homemade tattoos and offbeat charm in The Notebook and Lars and The Real Girl. He has dated actress Rachel MacAdams on and off but as of last year, they appear to be just good friends. Good bachelors stay friends with their exes.

JACK NICHOLSON: Not that we would recommend the 72-year-old as the ideal marriage prospect, but it must be acknowledged that he is as close to a veteran eligible bachelor as Hollywood has these days. He married, once, in the 1960s and has several children but has never settled down. He prefers to say coyly that he has “never minded being a fool for love”, all the while lounging on a speedboat in the south of France amid a bevy of bikinied lovelies.

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