Let it be known that no amount of prestige (think Oscar nominations, humanitarian awards) can keep "The Descendants" star George Clooney from pulling classic practical jokes.
On the Hawaii set of the movie, which is garnering the actor a lot of Oscar buzz, Clooney lived up to his reputation for keeping things light — even though Shailene Woodley, who plays Clooney’s character's daughter in the film, said the shoot didn't present prime pranking opportunities for the actor.
"He was in every scene of the film, he was busy, and we had a 10-year-old on set. It wasn’t an 'Ocean's Eleven' atmosphere," Woodley told Ministry of Gossip on Tuesday at "The Descendants' " L.A. premiere. "But we did get a lot of small practical jokes."
One time Clooney gave about 20 crew and cast members quite the scare when he fell on his back and feigned sharp pain, said Amara Miller, who plays his character's younger daughter.
"For a second there everyone thought we had lost our star. And then he gets up and he breaks through the crowd [surrounding him], and he walks away giggling," Miller said.
"We all just sit there going, 'You jerkface.' We all fell for it."
Clooney also kept the practical jokes coming with the help of smart phone technology.
"We were filming this scene on a plane — really right, a lot of extras, kind of uncomfortable," costar Nick Krause said. "I hear this noise behind me. I look back and I hear it again, and there's George playing with the fart button on his iPhone."
The young cast members have long-running "ER" to thank for Clooney’s natural ability to make things fun during the shoot.
"I did 'ER' for years where I worked with kids," he said. "I played a pediatrician. So I sort of got the hang of keeping it moving."
How does the actor switch gears from goofy jokes to filming somber scenes?
"When it’s a really well-written script and a really talented director," said Clooney, "it's not so hard."
"The Descendants," directed by Alexander Payne, opened with a limited release Wednesday.
-- Emily Rome
Photo: Shailene Woodley and George Clooney at the L.A. premiere of "The Descendants" at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press.