George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez prove that they’re the coolest people on the planet in the superb Elmore Leonard adaptation Out of Sight. By James Mottram and Marianne Gray
The December 1998 issue of Film Review contains these full interviews, plus another double-header - Samuel L Jackson & Kevin Spacey, stars of The Negotiator, Matt Damon on Rounders, Jackie Chan on Rush Hour and much more.
Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney

Voted ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ and one of TV’s highest paid soap stars he may be, but George Clooney’s box-office potential has yet to be truly realized. After the dèbâcle that was Batman and Robin, a hit was needed, or Clooney-cred would no longer be hip. Along came Out of Sight, and Clooney breathed a sigh of relief. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, who last hit big in 1989 with sex, lies and videotape, Clooney plays Jack Foley, a fugitive bank robber who spends much of the film sweet-talking Jennifer Lopez’s Deputy Federal Marshal, in a part that just beams charm.

“This guy is a bank robber,” says Clooney. “He’s got bad luck and he’s a bit of an idiot and a bit of a romantic and, at the end of the day, he is right back in jail and his world isn’t any different at all. Except that he met this girl that she likes along the way.

“There are no good guys,” he argues, “there are just different degrees of bad guys which I love. This is like when we used to make movies in Hollywood, before we had to relegate character pieces to independent films. You know, there was a period of time in the ’70s that was so character driven.” Designed to galvanize Clooney’s on-screen popularity, just as Get Shorty did for John Travolta, it was a calculated move on the actor’s part following the critical drubbing afforded to Batman and Robin.

With a humility that proves attractive, Clooney is happy to take the rap for his part in the failure of the fourth instalment of the franchise: “With hindsight it’s easy to look back at Batman and Robin and go ‘Woah, that was really shit and I was really bad in it’. The truth is, my phone rang and the head of Warner Bros said ‘Come into my office. You are going to play Batman in a Batman film’ and I said ‘Yeah!’ And I called up all my friends and they screamed and I screamed and we couldn’t believe it! And I am sure some people screamed when they got Ishtar. But I can’t really point at it and say ‘That didn’t work’ and then not take some of the blame.”

Jennifer Lopez is, according to her co-star George Clooney, pure Bronx bombshell with a way of getting under your skin – which she certainly does to him in Out of Sight, the third recent big-screen adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel (the previous ones being Touch and Jackie Brown).

Lopez’s ace caper thriller literally sizzled screens at both the Venice Film Festival and Deauville American Film Festivals and has sent her career into orbit, her price reportedly rising to the $2m mark. More than that, she has done something no actress had achieved before – she earns Clooney his official screen heart-throb badge.

“Yeah,” shrugs Lopez, “but although Karen Sisco might be doing good to George Clooney’s image, she knows she shouldn’t be attracted to him. Two sides of the law don’t mix, either on or off the screen! But what’s a girl supposed to do when suddenly in the middle of a prison breakout she finds herself trapped in the boot of a car with a swoony convicted bank robber? Stuck in this boot, bumping over country roads in extremely close proximity, something happened between them. Which is not impossible considering that Karen Sisco has a history of always going for the wrong guys; tough guys, married men, guys who aren’t good for her.”

Lopez, 28, was raised in the Bronx, born to Puerto Rican parents. Her father, a computer-operations manager, and her mother, a kindergarten teacher, sheltered their little girls from the horrors found just a few blocks from their apartment building. “I knew way back that I wasn’t going to end up in crime or pregnant at 15 and pushing a pram down the street before I’d finished high school,” she says. “I was born with street smarts. “I remember sitting in movie theatres much of my youth watching films, especially big epic films, starring real movie stars – Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe. My childhood idol was Rita Morena. I recall thinking ‘that’s gonna be me.’

Picture copyright: Universal
‘What’s a girl supposed to do when suddenly she finds herself trapped with a swoony convicted bank robber?’
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