George Clooney on Turning 50 in Hollywood: I'm Now a Character Actor

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The "Descendants" and "Ides of March" actor says he respects the way Paul Newman handled "growing old onscreen."

George Clooney says his acting career is likely to take a new turn now that he's turned 50.

The actor, who celebrated his birthday in May, told Parade magazine that he's fully aware of what happens as actors age in Hollywood.

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"I look at myself onscreen and go, 'I don't look like I did when I was 40 -- I know that,' " he said. "The people I've respected most in the industry over the years -- Paul Newman, for instance. I just loved the way he handled growing old onscreen. It's understanding that you're now basically a character actor."

Clooney also revealed that he just received a subscription to AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), which came as a bit of a shock. But that doesn't mean he's not still a kid at heart. Clooney is a notorious prankster in movie sets -- but he says he gets just as good as he gives.

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"There's good fun in watching those play out," he said. "And, hey, my friends are rough on me, too. Brad Pitt's brutal, and Matt Damon. My friends used to change my outgoing phone message all the time ... to something horrible, and there was nothing I could do to change it back. That was always brilliant."

Clooney next stars in Alexander Payne's The Descendants and The Ides of March, a political thriller that he also directed. The latter, in which he plays a presidential candidate, has been in the works for quite some time and had to be put on hold after the most recent presidential election.

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"We were in preproduction on this film in 2007, before the Obama election," he said. "And then we realized that a good portion of the country was elated with what happened in that election, so we had to shelve the movie until people were cynical again. I didn't think it would be quite this quick," he added, laughing.