NBFF 2016 Review: Being George Clooney

being clooneyIt is fun to see a connection that ties together actors from all over the world. For the case of Being George Clooney, the connection is international voice dubbing. The process may be understood at surface level, but there are a lot of interesting things that go into being the voice of another actor. This documentary has fun checking in on the actors who have established themselves as the voice of the movie star, among other things, as well as taking a look at this little-talked about profession in Hollywood.


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Writer/director Paul Mariano and his filmmaking team traveled to several countries around the world to interview the various actors who provide the voice for George Clooney in different international markets. Actors including Francesco Pannofino, Martin Umbach, Marco Antonio Costa and Tamer Karadagli all work in various fields (some are even doctors, who do voice dubbing on the side), but have seemingly been given the opportunity (or privilege) to be Clooney when called for it.

Being Clooney serves as a through line for the film, mainly because the star has all the charisma in the world and is quite genuine towards both his fans and those he works with (or is dubbed by). However, there is also a lot of interest in the subject of dubbing itself. Mariano was able to stage a number of scenes inside a dubbing studio, where he had some of the Clooney’s recreate some scenes they had dubbed over years prior. This project also afforded Mariano the opportunity to interview other actors and dubbing directors about their work.

For those with less knowledge of how the industry works, it is an insightful aspect of film production, as there really is not a lot of current information in regards to how this all works. While the doc is fairly lighthearted in tone, there are some deeper truths surrounding how little attention gets paid to the actors who make a big difference in how Hollywood movies are sold around the world. It also brings up the question of loyalties, as one particular story revolves around an actor who got into legal battles with Disney over the success of Pirates of the Caribbean and proper compensation, given how much of a hit the film was.

One of the more interesting parts of this film in regards to the actor is how involved one must be to truly capture the essence of a performance through voice alone. I actually wish the doc delved deeper into this subject, as it is one thing to nail the presence and cadence, but dealing with different translations and adapting elements of humor, for example, makes a huge difference depending on the country a film is being shown to.

There is also the matter of what countries are represented in this documentary, but there are understandable limits when it comes to making a film like this and trying to get as many people as you can involved. I still wish I could have learned a bit more about the Asian market, particularly China. The relevance of international box office is explored, but some key countries are left out when discussing the dubbing artists that could have added further insight or even some dissenting opinions on how this whole thing works.

The affable nature of Clooney and the actors who portray him mostly make up for these minor quibbles. Being George Clooney never becomes uninteresting and while it only hints at aspects of drama that come with the territory, there is enough interesting information and a variety of cinematic examples on display to ease viewers into the territory and give them a solid perception of this very important behind-the-scenes position.

being clooney

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

2 Responses to “NBFF 2016 Review: Being George Clooney”

  1. Paul Mariano

    Thanks for the great review. Glad that you enjoyed the film as much as the audiences at NBFF did.

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    Glad to have seen it. Thank you.