Speaking at a panel for his new film The Midnight Sky at the London Film Festival, Clooney said that he was originally linked to the Gosling role, with Paul Newman due to play him as an elderly man.
“We were going to do The Notebook together,” Clooney said of Newman, who died in 2008. “Basically, I was going to play him as a young man, and it was funny. We met and said, ‘This is it. It’s going to be great.’”
However, Clooney said that he backed out of the role after watching old Newman movies and realising that they looked nothing alike.
“He’s one of the handsomest guys you’ve ever seen,” Clooney said. “We met up [again] and I said, ‘I can’t play you. I don’t look anything like you. This is insane’. We just wanted to do it because we wanted to work together, [but] it ended up being not the right thing for us to do.”
Also during the London Film Festival panel, Clooney cited his 1998 thriller Out of Sight as the film that rescued his career after the failure of 1997’s Batman & Robin.
“I was still doing ER at the time and there were always these conversations about whether you can go from television to film,” Clooney remembered. “It was a big deal, and I was losing that argument.”
Clooney’s next film, The Midnight Sky, is a Netflix drama about a scientist in the Arctic who must stop a group of astronauts from returning to earth in the wake of a global catastrophe. Felicity Jones, Kyle Chandler and David Oyelowo also star.