The Real Reason George Clooney Was Hospitalized For His Latest Role

Actors often go above and beyond in preparing for a stage, screen, or TV role. In order to perfect their character, they may practice a regional accent, study a historical figure or time period, or spend weeks with a vocal or dance coach. They may even make a drastic change to their appearance: dyeing or cutting their hair, wearing makeup that ages, disfigures or disguises them, or padding one or more body parts. Sometimes, that preparation can go too far — as George Clooney recently found out. 

The eternally heartthrob-by actor directed and starred in his latest project, The Midnight Sky, which hits Netflix and select theaters on December 23 (per IMDb). Set in 2049 after a mysterious global catastrophe, the film features Clooney as a scientist who has to travel to a remote Arctic observatory to warn a space shuttle returning from a mission to Jupiter that they may be safer in orbit than on a bleak and possibly doomed Earth. 

The other plot twist: Clooney’s character, Augustine, is battling not only the elements, but also advanced cancer that makes his journey even more treacherous.

George Clooney dieted his way to disaster

In order to accurately portray a man whose body is ravaged by disease, George Clooney dieted intensively, only to find himself doubled over with severe stomach pains only four days before he was scheduled to fly overseas for filming. He told the British tabloid Mirror, “I think I was trying too hard to lose the weight quickly and probably wasn’t taking care of myself.” According to Page Six, Clooney dropped 28 pounds in for the role.

His pain turned out to be pancreatitis, a serious inflammation of the pancreas (per WebMD) that landed him in the hospital for days; even after his release, Clooney said it was “a few weeks” before he felt like himself again. “We were out on this glacier in Finland, which made it a lot harder work,” he told the tab. “But it certainly helped with the character.”

His Augustine has another physical characteristic that got mixed reviews from Clooney’s family. “I grew a big ugly beard and my son [Alexander, 3] loved it because he’d hide things in it which I wouldn’t know about until I got to work and I’d be like, ‘Oh, there’s a popsicle stuck in my beard’,” he said. “But my wife [Amal] and daughter [Ella, 3] were really happy when it came off because it was very hard to find a face underneath all that mess.”

Fortunately, Clooney has some extra time to rest and recuperate. Since the pandemic hit, he told Mirror, he and his family have been secluding themselves in their Hollywood Hills home: “We couldn’t be happier with our lives, and we couldn’t feel luckier.”

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