When George Clooney appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Tuesday night, he had some words for friends Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, whose first child was born on Monday, which is also Clooney’s birthday.
“That kid stole my thunder,” he told Kimmel. When asked if he was asked to be the godfather, as Kimmel had heard rumored, Clooney demurred: “That would be a bad idea,” he said. “I’m the father of twins, and I can barely do that.”
The actor, who was appearing to promote his upcoming Hulu series Catch-22, adapted from the Joseph Heller novel, joked that his birthday wasn’t a big blowout because “I just turned 58, nothing’s fun.”
Still, the day proved to be momentous for his wife, which made him “very happy.” Amal Clooney, a legal counsel to Reuters and journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were jailed for allegedly breaking the country’s Official Secrets Act, had been working “literally every single day” on the case. “Last night they walked out of prison, so we’re very happy,” Clooney said.
Though he didn’t mention it with Kimmel, Clooney additionally experienced another victory for a favored cause on Monday. Clooney has been in the news lately due to his vocal criticism of the Sultan of Brunei’s rollout of laws in April to punish sodomy, adultery and rape, with death. The actor helped lead a boycott on hotels owned by the Sultan’s Dorchester Collection hotel group, including the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Bel-Air and the Dorchester in London. Following pressure from Hollywood stars and boycotting customers, the Sultan announced in a rare response to the backlash on Monday that he was extending a moratorium on the death penalty to upcoming legislation prohibiting gay sex.
“It promises that the citizens of Brunei won’t be executed for being gay. It also sends a very crucial message to countries like Indonesia and Malaysia that there is a cost for enacting these laws,” Clooney said in a statement about the announcement. “Having said that, the law to stone their citizens is still in place. Meaning that as soon as the pressure dies down they could simply start the process of carrying out executions. So in reference to the boycott everyone should do what they feel is correct. For my family and me we simply can’t walk away until this draconian law is no longer on the books.”
Later on Live!, Clooney confessed he had never seen his Catch-22 co-star Christopher Abbott on his breakout role in HBO’s Girls where, Kimmel informed him, Abbott played a “douchebag.” Kimmel noted that he wasn’t so in real life, but that in the show it was “scripted.”
“Fascinating how Hollywood works,” Clooney joked.
Kimmel also played a scene of Catch-22 in which Clooney’s lieutenant asks to see Abbott’s bombardier character’s genitals to see how badly injured they have been in World War II, and the camera captures his reaction from between Abbott’s legs. “It’s my first over-the-balls shot I’ve ever done,” he joked.
Catch-22 premieres on Hulu on May 17.