Clooney faces up to some Intolerable Cruelty...

Preview by Jack Foley

WHEN he's not appearing in, or producing, films directed by Steven Soderbergh, George Clooney seems to be starring in those that are directed by the Coen Brothers - which is no bad thing.

Having teamed up with them to glorious effect in the riotously funny, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the star has been reunited for Intolerable Cruelty, a bittersweet romantic comedy, co-starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, which looks set to continue to run of quality films being made by the actor at the moment.

Written and directed by the Coens, Intolerable Cruelty finds Clooney as a sleazy Beverly Hills divorce attorney, who frames the wife (Zeta-Jones) of one of his clients, so the man can be released from the marriage and free from paying any settlement.

The woman seeks revenge by plotting to marry the attorney and then taking him to the cleaners in their own divorce. But what she doesn't count on, is falling in love with him.

The movie co-stars the likes of previous Coen collaborator, Billy Bob Thornton, as a popular soap opera actor, whom Zeta-Jones hires to pose as a husband, and Geoffrey Rush, as the director of the actor's soap opera. Cedric the Entertainer also crops up as a detective working for Clooney's character.

The project has been in development hell for years, but has frequently had some big names attached to it. Being a romantic comedy, it is hardly surprising to find that it was once considered as a vehicle for Hugh Grant (alongside Tea Leoni), while Joe Dante is also believed to have been in talks to direct, with the odd pairing of Jeremy Irons and Heather Locklear also set, at one time, to star. Julia Roberts was also rumoured to have been on the verge of appearing.

Yet it now appears to be in good hands, with indie kings, the Coens, no doubt livening things up with their own blend of quirky humour and polished screenwriting.

Location-wise, the movie also allowed Clooney to return to Las Vegas (where he last set foot in Ocean's Eleven), with a significant proportion filmed in Caesar's Palace. An article in the Las Vegas Review Journal revealed that the Forum Casino and the Terrazza Restaurant were used for several scenes and drew a large crowd to watch proceedings.

Intolerable Cruelty was due to have opened in America around April, but has been put back to October to give it a better shot at success - following the exhaustive summer schedule when the better films, traditionally, get lost amid the blockbusters.

But it means that Clooney fans are guaranteed a busy 12 months of going to see the star, what with Solaris out shortly and his directorial debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, due to hit cinema screens in the UK in March.

Needless to say, now that he has finished with the Coens once more, he is returning to the Soderbergh stable to film Ocean's 12 - the eagerly-anticipated follow-up to the Rat Pack remake of last year.

Speaking at a recent press conference in London, the star confirmed that most (if not all) of the stars had pencilled in the time to film the sequel next year, but refused to provide any hints as to what the story might be. Soderbergh, meanwhile, is quoted as saying that he feels he could better the previous heist movie.

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