The Tender Bar

Director George Clooney discusses The Tender Bar

October 13, 2021 DGA Membership Screening Q&As

A boy growing up on Long Island seeks out father figures among a group of colorful barflies in Director George Clooney’s coming-of-age drama, The Tender Bar.

Adapted from JR Moehringer’s memoir, Clooney’s film tells the story of J.R., a fatherless boy who hangs out in a bar where his Uncle Charlie works at as a bartender, catering to an assortment of quirky characters. As his mother struggles to provide her son with opportunities and leave the dilapidated home of her begrudgingly supportive father, J.R. begins to pursue his romantic and professional dreams.

In a DGA Q&A in Los Angeles on October 1, Clooney discussed the making of The Tender Bar in a conversation moderated by Director Jason Reitman (Ghostbusters: Afterlife). He also discussed the film in a conversation moderated by Director John Krasinski (A Quiet Place) following the DGA Membership Screening in New York on October 13.

During the Los Angeles conversation, he spoke about the challenges of making a period film. “When you're telling a story there are a few things you can do to put people in a period. When we did Good Night, and Good Luck, we did it in black and white because we knew no one knew Edward R. Murrow in color. There are things you kind of have to pay attention to and for this one there are only a few things you can do to make it feel like 1972. One of them is to try to shoot it along the style — rack focuses and zooms and quick cutting in the middle — of the movies we watched from that era. The music was important in that same way. You can do the wardrobe, you can do the hair and it can really look like a pageant if you don't have all the other elements.”

In addition to The Tender Bar, Clooney’s directorial credits include the feature films The Midnight Sky, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Leatherheads, The Ides of March, The Monuments Men and Suburbicon; and episodes of the mini-series Catch-22 and the series Unscripted. Clooney was nominated for DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for his 2005 feature, Good Night, and Good Luck. He has been a DGA member since 2001.


Q&A photos by Elisa Haber  (Los Angeles) & Marcie Revens (New York) – Print courtesy of Amazon

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