As Ford says:
“I saw a little [director] Steve Gaghan’s film ‘Syriana’ and I wish I could play the role that was offered to me – the role of George.”
Based on Robert Baer’s novel, “See No Evil,” Steve Gaghan’s “Syriana” is a chilling espionage thriller that captures the tumultuous post-9/11 anxieties and critiques of the geopolitical climate of 2005. All the hallmarks of the prestige picture the studio was destined for succeeded at the Oscars – ironically, Ford was unable to see through the vision. When Ford was approached to play the role of Clooney, he passed on it on the grounds that the film lacked substance.
“I didn’t feel strongly enough about the truth of the material and I think I made a mistake. I think the film went through a few changes and I think a lot of it was very honest. Things that I thought they weren’t, were removed after I left the table.”
Fresh from working on his second highly acclaimed film, “Good Night and Good Luck,” which will be released the same year as “Syriana,” Clooney takes on the role of Bob Barnes with incredible commitment. He gained 30 pounds in just one month, practiced his Arabic and Farsi pronunciations, and shed his pathetic image to play a much more vulnerable man. During filming, he suffered a severe spinal injury that nearly ended his career.
Yes, Ford could probably play Bob Barnes in “Syriana” very well. However, now that Clooney’s extreme physical hurdles that put the film together have been publicized in graphic detail, one is hoping Ford will change his mind. We’re also thankful that Clooney is alive and still with us doing another rom-com.