Amidst the deluge of dystopian movies that seem to occupy theaters, ‘Tomorrowland’ is a breath of fresh air with its message of optimism and hope. So it’s interesting to watch George Clooney (who Damon Lindelof describes as “the most optimistic person [he’s] ever met) play a curmudgeon. But it seems that message is what attracted Clooney to take the role in the first place.
During a press junket for ‘Tomorrowland,’ Clooney talked about how he was approached to play the cynical and disillusioned Frank Walker:
“When Damon and Brad showed up to my house, they said, ‘We have written a part for you. Then I open it up and the description of the character is a 55-year-old has-been.” (laughing)
Lindelof did insert that he was a genius in the film to which Clooney replied with a smile, “Former genius! Boy genius who’s gotten bitter in his old age.”
Even with the rather unflattering description of his character, Clooney explained that it was what the film represented that had him interested to be part of it:
“We live in a world right now where you turn on your television sets and its rough out there and it’s not fun and it can really wear on you after a period of time. And you see generations feeling that they are so hopeless in a way, and what I love about [‘Tomorrowland’] is that it speaks to the idea that your future is not pre-ordained and predestined and that if you’re involved, a single voice can make a difference. I believe in that. I love the theme that there’s still so much we can all do to make things better.”
But of all the themes that can be found in “Tomorrowland,’ the one that draws Clooney to the film the most is how the optimism of just one person can change the future:
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“If you looked at things that changed in the 60s and early 70s, individual voices did make a huge difference. It wasn’t governments doing it… What I loved about the film was that it reminds you that. Young people aren’t born and start out their lives cynical, or angry or bigoted. You have to be taught all those things. I watch the world now and see really good signs from young people out there. I feel as it the world will get better. I’ve always been an optimist… I’m a realist but I’m an optimist about it. And I really related to the film because I thought, you know, Brad and Damon want to tell a story that’s an entertainment, because first and foremost, it has to be an entertainment. But it is hopeful, and I’ve always felt that way myself.”
Fans of Clooney know that this belief that one voice can make a difference is heartfelt. The actor is involved with many humanitarian organizations and he uses his celebrity to bring light to these causes.
“There is a funny thing about careers. As time goes on and you’re more comfortable with your career path, you’re able to focus on other things.”
So within the summer movies being released this year of superheroes, sequels and dystopian futures and with the world in a condition that make it feel that the end times are near, Disney has decided to bring to audiences hope. With that hope is optimism, which is held deep within Clooney:
“I didn’t ever have that great disappointment in mankind. I always felt like it’s going to work out in the end. And I still feel that way.”
Maybe Tomorrowland is something we could achiever after all.