Tag Archives: George Clooney

The Last Movie Stars

If you’re tired of the endless Royal coverage on TV – and who isn’t? – I recommend the documentary series by Ethan Hawke on Joanne Woodward/Paul Newman. At the beginning I thought it would be a bit of a wankfest, with Hawke and his celebrity friends gushing as only actors on other actors can do. But it becomes more and more interesting as it unfurls. Newman’s affair with Woodward began whilst he was still married. This adulterous affair lasted for five years before he divorced and could marry Woodward, the length of time a shock to some of his children even now. He was in sexual thrall to Woodward, who taught him. He was always very handsome but initially not very good (and the documentary shows us how this is so). There are marvellous clips, including a lot of home movies. Newman taped a series of interviews, the base of a potential biography that never happened. He burned the tapes but his co-writer kept transcripts (voiced by George Clooney) which are the basis of the narrative. What is the series about Hawke asks? Are they favouring Newman at the expense of Woodward? What does it mean for your star to fade as your husband’s keeps rising? Where they good parents? What did their children think? A show on stardom, celebrity, acting, citizenship, families…and, perhaps more than anything, about marriage. Hawke’s questioning – initially an irritation – becomes more and more appealing – open, searching, self-reflexive, revealing complexities. The title is the type of absurd hype I thought the series itself would peddle…but doesn’t. One of the best celebrity documentaries I’ve seen. On Now TV.

José Arroyo