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George Clooney on Alexander Payne: ‘He doesn’t work enough’

November 18, 2011 |  7:00 am

George Clooney and Alexander Payne on the set of 'The Descendants'

“The Descendants” star George Clooney has one criticism of Alexander Payne, the film’s writer-director-producer.

“He doesn’t work enough. He should work more,” Clooney quipped.

Indeed, the filmmaker’s fans have had to wait seven years since his previous feature directing effort, “Sideways,” which garnered five Oscar nominations. “He’s smart, and he’s talented,” Clooney told 24 Frames at the L.A. premiere of the film on Tuesday.

Other cast members of the Hawaii-set family drama also had praise for the director.

“I like how confident he is in his actors,” Judy Greer said. “He really directs us so subtlely that you end up feeling like it was all your idea. It’s manipulative -– I like it.”

Robert Forster, who plays Clooney’s father-in-law in the film, relished in the opportunity to work with Payne for the comedic elements that shine through the film’s somber drama.

“I have never worked with a director where I thought I had a shot at getting a laugh. This guy does dramas that also give you laughs, and I thought to myself, ‘Man if I get in this picture, I will hopefully get a laugh somewhere,' ” Forster said.

At the premiere’s screening at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Samuel Goldwyn Theater, the veteran actor got plenty of laughs, including for the scene where he punches 19-year-old costar Nick Krause’s character. “I knew I had a moment there that would be much fun,” Forster said.

Matthew Lillard said when an actor signs on to one of Payne's films, “you just know that you’re in for something fantastic.”

Payne doesn’t plan to wait quite so long again until the release of his next film. Though development stalled for his project “Downsizing,” which he worked on for three years with writing partner Jim Taylor, the director is prepping 2012 release “Nebraska,” about a father and son who hit the road to collect a sweepstakes prize.

“The Descendants” opened in Los Angeles and New York theaters Wednesday.


The return of Alexander Payne

Movie review: 'The Descendants,' an intimate family drama

'Descendants' clip: George Clooney learns the hard truth [video]

-- Emily Rome

Photo: George Clooney, left, and director Alexander Payne on the set of "The Descendants." Credit: Merie Wallace / Fox Searchlight

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