When George Clooney came down with COVID, he had to remotely direct part of The Boys in the Boat from an iPad.
George Clooney officially has eight directorial features under his belt, with the ninth, The Boys in the Boat, rowing towards a December 25th release. And it was with that movie that Clooney faced perhaps his most unique challenge yet: directing remotely.
It was during filming on The Boys in the Boat — which began in March 2022 (the project has been in development for quite some time) — that George Clooney caught COVID for the first time. But production couldn’t just stop and so he had to direct from an iPad. Speaking with People, Clooney remembered one scene with Callum Turner, who plays Olympian rower Joe Rantz. “I’m on an iPad hacking away from my bedroom…[co-producer Grant [Heslov] was sitting on the camera and they’d hold up the iPad to Cal and I’d go, ‘Ah, go fast.’ I’d rasp out ‘Faster’ whatever that was.” While this didn’t result in the best direction, fortunately, he added, “We only had to do it for a week.”
As for where he may have contracted COVID, Clooney points to star Joel Edgerton, who plays Al Ulbrickson. “He went down first, by the way, in fairness. So if we’re looking for ground zero…”
Clooney has been directing a movie pretty much every three years since his 2002 debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. 2021’s The Tender Bar broke that pattern by coming out one year after The Midnight Sky, the IMAX release of which was canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Christmas release date for The Boys in the Boat is partly meant to capitalize on awards season. And while he may not be receiving a Best Director nod (something that has eluded him since 2005’s Good Night, and Good Luck – still his best film, in my opinion), the movie has already been shortlisted for the Best Visual Effects Oscar. Still, Clooney does have a Best Supporting Actor statue for Syriana and another for producing Argo.
The Boys in the Boat is based on the bestselling non-fiction book by Daniel James Brown, which has the obnoxiously long subtitle “Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics”, leaving no mystery as to what it’s about.
Are you looking forward to The Boys in the Boat? What is your favorite George Clooney-directed movie? Let us know in the comments section below!