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EDITIONS
 Monday, 23 December, 2002, 11:38 GMT
Clooney scores directing hit
George  Clooney
Clooney also appears in the film
George Clooney has won praise for his first film as a director, produced under the aegis of the film company he formed with Steven Soderbergh.

The Ocean's Eleven star has directed and co-produced Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, a book written by Chuck Barris about his double-life as a TV producer and CIA agent.

Although Barris was a respected quiz show producer there is little evidence about his career in the CIA, leading to a great deal of speculation about the authenticity of his tale about assassinating more than 30 people.

I'm not gonna talk about the CIA and I'm not gonna talk about assassinations

Chuck Barris
The film tracks the emergence of the two aspects of Barris' life, taken from his early 1980s book - his game shows, such as The Dating Game and The Gong Show, and his involvement with the CIA.

'Eye-opening brutality'

"It romanticises them from the 50s, It's all colour and pretty and sweet and innocent and there's nothing really bloody and nasty about either of them," Clooney told the BBC's Tom Brook.

"Then there's the eye-opening brutality of what both of those can get to, and have gotten to, by the time you hit the Reagan years."

The film stars Sam Rockwell as Barris and Julia Roberts as a CIA femme fatale.

Barris himself has been involved in the promotion of the movie, but has been staying tight-lipped about his time as a trained killer.

Sam Rockwell and Drew Barrymore
Sam Rockwell and Drew Barrymore star
"I'm not going to talk about the CIA and I'm not going to talk about assassinations," he said.

"I wrote a book about 20 years ago that talked about that...and I'll let it go with that."

He also refuses to say how much of the book is based on truth.

Clooney, who appears in the film as a CIA operative, has not concerned himself with questions over the veracity of the storytelling.

Pushing the bar

But he has been receiving praise for the feature produced with the support of the film company he formed two years ago with Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh, who directed Clooney in Ocean's Eleven and Solaris.

Clooney is delighted at the success and direction his career since has taken breaking into the movies from the small screen, but he is still wary that it could all end abruptly.

"Let's look at the history of every career ever.. there are very few Paul Newmans in the world that get to do this when they're in their seventies," said Clooney.

"The truth is they will take all the toys away at some point. That's why Steven and I as a company are pushing the bar as high up as we can, constantly pushing right now, because we feel it is inevitable that it will all be taken away.

"I'm not going to be allowed to be in front of the camera, and I won't be even allowed to direct or produce at some point, so while we're here and while we're in the position of power, we're gonna push it as far as we can," he added.

See also:

15 Feb 02 | Entertainment
29 Oct 01 | Entertainment
10 Dec 01 | Entertainment
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