George Clooney has revealed that he almost ended up playing Ryan Gosling's character in The Notebook! As Deadline reports, Clooney shared this piece of casting information on Sunday during a virtual chat as part of the 64th BFI London Film Festival, where he was promoting his new Netflix movie The Midnight Sky.
Clooney says he and Newman realized they didn't look alike
Clooney mentioned that he was originally set to play the young version of "Noah Calhoun" in the 2004 Nicholas Sparks romance, with Paul Newman playing his older counterpart! "We were going to do The Notebook together," he explained during the virtual event. "Basically, I was going to play him as a young man, and it was funny. We met and said, 'This is it. It’s going to be great.'"
However, the actor revealed this original casting plan never came to fruition because of Newman's looks! "He’s one of the handsomest guys you’ve ever seen," Clooney said of Newman. "We met up [again] and I said, 'I can’t play you. I don’t look anything like you. This is insane.' We just wanted to do it because we wanted to work together, [but] it ended up being not the right thing for us to do."
Clooney shares funny memory of friendship with Newman
Clooney and Newman both ended up departing The Notebook as a result of this judgement call, with their parts going to Gosling and James Garner, respectively. Rachel McAdams and Gena Rowlands also ended up starring as the young and old versions of the film's leading lady, "Allie Hamilton"! During the talk, Clooney also reflected on his friendship with Newman before his passing in 2008.
"We had a very funny relationship, late in life for him," he shared. "I directed a movie that just completely bombed called Leatherheads. [Newman] was still racing at the time, and raced a car, and crashed it," he continued. "So, he took a photo of Leatherheads and superimposed it on the crashed car, and said, 'I was driving your car in the race.'"
Ultimately, Clooney not being cast in the romantic drama was for the best, as fans of The Notebook couldn't imagine "Noah" being played by anyone else other than Gosling. And even though Clooney sadly didn't have the opportunity to appear in a project with Newman, he still has many fond memories of their friendship to look back on!