Clooney went on to star in several other Coen brothers films, such as “Untolerable Cruelty” and “Burn After Reading,” but according to Interview Interview, he struggled a bit during his first foray into Coenworld.
“I was nervous, man. It was the Coen brothers and they were gods. And I had this great part, this idiot named Everett. On day one, the first scene was the scene where John Goodman hits me on the head with a branch and knocks corn off my mouth. I did that scene in one take, and I played Everett like an idiot because he was an idiot.”
Unfortunately for Clooney, that part isn’t that simple. Everett isn’t just a garden variety doll. He is an unintelligent person who firmly believes he is very intelligent, partly because he is slightly smarter than the company he runs. According to the interview, Joel Coen explained this to Clooney.
“Joel [Coen] comes and goes, “Just remember you’re the smartest person in the room in every room you walk into.” That was the last thing he said to me for the entire film. And I was like, ‘Oh f**k, of course. You’re right.’ It’s liberating. Oftentimes, directors don’t give actors such notes because they think of results and not process.”
It kind of stepped in and quickly clarified Clooney’s role that made the Coens such talented character directors. “O Brother Where Art Thou” is a feel-good film, blending humor and music in a story reminiscent of “The Odyssey,” and George Clooney is our arrogant fool Odysseus.