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Five ideal stage roles for George Clooney

October 22, 2009 | 11:50 am


George Clooney has three new movies making the international festival rounds -- "Up in the Air," "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and "The Men Who Stare at Goats" -- but maybe what he really wants to do is return to the stage.

In an interview recently published in London's Metro, Clooney suggested he would be open to the idea of starring in a West End production. "It would be swell (to do a show in the West End), but no one has actually offered me one," he was quoted as saying.

Clooney's Hollywood agents and lawyers might be gagging at the thought of the star's return to the theater, but Culture Monster thinks it's an inspired idea. In fact, we even have a few suggestions for theater producers who might be eager to lure the ever-game movie actor to their stages.

Clooney, it should be noted, got his start in the theater, performing in productions at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre and other regional houses.

Perhaps the best theater bait would be a drama with a political edge. If you'll remember, Clooney famously renounced the nippled Batsuit in favor of serious and socially engaged movies such as "Good Night, and Good Luck" and "Syriana."

But there's also Clooney's more carefree side and lothario persona, which would make him suitable for a '30s-era madcap romantic comedy.

Here are some of our suggestions for Clooney's return to the stage. And let us know what you'd like to see Clooney star in -- whether it's a drama, a musical or even Shakespeare.

Bobby Gould in "Speed-the-Plow": Clooney knows Hollywood, so it should be a slam-dunk for him to play the smarmy protagonist in David Mamet's industry satire. Plus, Clooney's deadpan delivery strikes us as the perfect match for Mamet's dry-ice dialogue.

Elyot Chase in "Private Lives": Or anything by Noel Coward, actually. Clooney's suave sex appeal and raised-eyebrow wit make him the ideal Coward hero. Plus he looks great in a tuxedo. The British accent might be a problem, though.

Niels Bohr or Werner Heisenberg in "Copenhagen": Michael Frayn's nuclear-secret drama strikes us as the kind of vehicle that would appeal to Clooney's sensibility -- politically engaged but not too preachy or self-important.

Guido Contini in "Nine": Can Clooney sing? Would it matter? The womanizing hero of Maury Yeston's musical is a dream role for any middle-aged actor. And Clooney's track record with the ladies could only help him get into character.

Roy Cohn in "Angels in America": Sure, it would a stretch for the macho Clooney to play the closeted, self-loathing lawyer dying of AIDS. But then again, the anti-typecasting might just be the thing Clooney is looking for. And Tony Kushner's play is so ambitious and politically rooted that it's sure to pique the left-leaning star's interests.

-- David Ng

Photo: George Clooney, earlier this month at the Rome Film Festival. Credit: Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images