6 things we learned when George Clooney met Graham Norton: from Batman regrets to pranks on Pitt

"I always apologise for Batman" confesses the Hollywood star - and reveals he may well be arrested for his next prank

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George Clooney will appear on Graham Norton’s sofa on Friday night and, boy, does he have a lot of juicy stories to tell. The interview was filmed earlier this week and here’s what we learned, from his unusual honeymoon to his terrible voice…

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1. He apologises for his Batman

Talking of the 1997 film in which he played the caped crusader, Clooney say: “I always apologise for Batman and Robin. It was a disaster and I actually thought I had destroyed the franchise until they brought it back years later. I thought at the time it was going to be a really good career move… it wasn’t!”  

It wasn’t even fun to film: “The costume was brutal to wear and the director’s idea of direction was to shout through a megaphone, ‘George, your parents are dead and you have nothing to live for… and action!’ It was a fantastic experience…”

2. He went to he pop culture convention Comic-Con when he was meant to be on his honeymoon

Not one to let a little thing like his honeymoon get in the way of promoting his upcoming film Tomorrowland, Clooney had to break the news to his new wife Amal that he’d be skipping off for a bit. “I got the call while on my honeymoon and was told it was really important that I fly in. First I had to explain that to my wife which didn’t play well. And then, the whole idea of spending part of your honeymoon with people dressed up like Captain Kirk and Star Wars characters somehow wasn’t easy to explain to my new bride. But I showed up and it was actually fun.” 

3. He’s not above flattery

On being offered the Tomorrowland role, Clooney reveals: “Brad Bird the director sent me the script and said a part had been written for me, which I thought was great. I read the description and it said, ‘50-year-old bitter has-been’ and I thought, ‘You wrote that for me, that’s so nice. Thank you very much!’”

4. His ER role led to the occasional embarrassing scene 

“Everything changed overnight,” Clooney says of his years as Dr Ross in the hit medical drama. “We went from obscurity to 45 million people watching and everyone obsessed with the show. Before that I remember we had just shot the pilot and we all went to the local restaurant to eat still dressed in our medical scrubs. When a child started to choke on a French fry and we all started shouting, ‘Someone do something’ everyone stared at us expecting us to do something as they thought we were doctors!”

5. He (really) can’t sing 

With a famous singer for an aunt (a certain Rosemary Clooney) and a father with his own album, everyone – including Clooney himself – thinks he’ll be a natural crooner. “I didn’t know I couldn’t sing, I thought I could and when we were doing ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ the Cohen brothers sort of assumed that I could sing because I was Rosemary Clooney’s nephew, everyone assumed I could. So when I finished recording a song for the soundtrack no one said anything and just stared at the ground. When they played it back it sounded like a baby seal being killed and I thought, ‘Oh my god, it’s terrible,’ but I didn’t want to say that so I said, ‘It sounds great!’ I eventually said how bad it was and they brought a guy to do my voice and sing the song and it was a massive hit!  They don’t let me sing anywhere now.”

6. He might be arrested for his next prank

George Clooney is well known for playing pranks on his famous friends. Among his victims, Clooney reveals, is pal Brad Pitt: “I’m not sure how it started but we have done some terrible things to each other. I had some stationery made up with his name on and would then send letters to other actors from Brad Pitt. I sent Meryl Streep a letter from him with a whole stack of dialect coach CDs saying that they may help her for her role in the Iron Lady. I have sent letters to lots and lots of people from Brad and I don’t tell either of them what I have done for a year or two and they are like, ‘Are you kidding me?’”

And his next prank could land him in hot water: “I’m doing one now that I can’t tell you about but in a year you are going to hear I’ve been arrested – I’m not kidding because I think I’ve crossed the line. It’s exciting. But, I have a wife, she’s a barrister, I’ll be fine!”

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George Clooney will be on The Graham Norton Show on Friday (10:35pm, BBC1) where he’ll be sharing the sofa with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Jessica Hynes and Snoop Dogg.