In a new profile in Esquire,George Clooney—with the help of Tom Junod—takes the time to essentially explain why he, George Clooney, is a good celebrity. As opposed to, say, someone like Leonardo DiCaprio.
Why do we bring Leo into this mix? Well, Clooney did himself, telling Junod an elaborate story about playing basketball with DiCaprio's friends, who immediately started talking "shit."
And so then we’re watching them warm up, and they’re doing this weave around the court, and one of the guys I play with says, ‘You know we’re going to kill these guys, right?’ Because they can’t play at all. We’re all like fifty years old, and we beat them three straight: 11–0, 11–0, 11–0. And the discrepancy between their game and how they talked about their game made me think of how important it is to have someone in your life to tell you what’s what. I’m not sure if Leo has someone like that.
The moral of Clooney's story, then, is that DiCaprio, the onetime boy prince of Hollywood, has no one to keep him grounded. No one to tell him he can't ball for crap, and he and his boys ought to calm down. Clooney, says Clooney, is grounded and has the better basketball game to prove it.
Another bad celebrity, in Clooney's book? Russell Crowe. Crowe insulted Clooney once around 2005, and Clooney schooled him.
The truth is that [Crowe] did send me a book of poems to apologize for insulting the shit out of me, which he did. He picked a fight with me. He started it for no reason at all. He put out this thing saying, ‘George Clooney, Harrison Ford, and Robert De Niro are sellouts.’ And I put out a statement saying, ‘He’s probably right. And I’m glad he told us, ’cause Bob and Harrison and I were also thinking about starting a band, which would also fall under the heading of bad use of celebrity.’ And that’s when he really went off on me. ‘Who the fuck does this guy think he is? He’s a Frank Sinatra wannabe.’ He really went after me. And so I sent him a note going, ‘Dude, the only people who succeed when two famous people are fighting is People magazine. What the fuck is wrong with you?’
Who are the good celebrities, according to Clooney? Well, Bill Murray and Brad Pitt are in his "club of famous people he doesn’t consider assholes" (lest you think it's a boys' club, Julia Roberts and Cate Blanchett get good-guy designation, too). He tells stories of fooling around with Murray's phone when they were filming Clooney's next directorial effort, The Monuments Men (which was recently pushed back to 2014), and writing letters to other famous people on Brad Pitt's stationary.
It's all just eminent domain when you're the King of the (Good) Celebrities.