Clooney goes for kindness with new movie ‘The Tender Bar’

Screening of the film
Director George Clooney speaks to the media as he arrives for a screening of the film "The Tender Bar" as part of the BFI London Film Festival, in London, Britain, October 10, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

October 11, 2021

By Hanna Rantala

LONDON (Reuters) – George Clooney is back behind the camera for “The Tender Bar”, a coming-of-age story starring Ben Affleck and Tye Sheridan.

The feature film, Clooney’s eighth as director, is based on the memoirs of American author J.R. Moehringer, who found substitutes for his absent father at his uncle Charlie’s New York pub.

“It was nice. It was gentle. It was kind, and I don’t often do films like that,” Clooney told Reuters on Sunday, at the London Film Festival premiere of the drama.

“I wanted to have something that didn’t necessarily reflect all the things that we’ve been going through. I wanted to have something that reminded us that we all kind of like each other in general.”

The film sees JR, played by Sheridan and newcomer Daniel Ranieri, being taken under the wing of his barman uncle played by Affleck, and finding shelter in his establishment. Influenced by the stories told by the bar’s colourful cast of patrons, JR matures from an insecure boy to an acclaimed writer.

Casting his friend Affleck as the larger-than-life Uncle Charlie was a no-brainer, said Clooney.

“This character is really smart and he’s a bit of a goofball and Ben is all of those things.”

Clooney said turning 60 in May had made him re-evaluate his priorities.

“Sixty changes the dynamic a little bit. Amal and I talk about it all the time,” he said, referring to his wife, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.

“It doesn’t mean not working, because working is really important to both of us, but also making sure that we also spend time with each other and with our family.”

Released in U.S. cinemas on Dec. 17, “The Tender Bar” starts streaming globally on Amazon Prime from Jan. 7, 2022.

(Reporting by Hanna Rantala; Editing by Karishma Singh)