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'Cruelty:' Chemistry and Laughs

The new Coen brothers film "Intolerable Cruelty" stars George Clooney as a high-powered divorce lawyer and Catherine Zeta-Jones as a money-hungry serial divorcee. The film is an old fashioned screwball romantic comedy that relies on the chemistry between the two leads.

Clooney and Zeta-Jones say that's something that must come naturally.

"I don't think you work on it," Clooney says. "Impossible to," adds Zeta-Jones.

Clooney continues, "If you work on it, I think you're in trouble. And I think if you focus on it or talk about it, you're in trouble. You need a good script and you need a really good director. And you need a little bit of luck along the way, too."

Zeta-Jones agrees, "But just the experience of working with George is so easy and fun. I was instantly at ease, and so the dialogue we were able to play and throw it out there, it just gelled."

Interestingly enough, the film couple did not know each other prior to filming.

"We met once before", Clooney notes with a big laugh, echoing a line from the film. "Basically, the first time we were really meeting was through the restaurant's scene,"

Produced by Academy Award winner Brian Grazer ("A Beautiful Mind"), "Intolerable Cruelty" also stars Academy Award nominee Billy Bob Thornton and Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush. But that did not intimidate Clooney. He may not have had an Academy Award like Zeta-Jones, he quips, but "I've got a People's Choice nomination that'll blow your mind."

When The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith asks how he got involved in the Ethan and Joel Coen film, Clooney jokes, "I have some pictures of Joel in compromising positions. So I get to work with him every couple of years, whether they want it or not."

In the film Zeta-Jones plays a deceitful divorcee. Zeta-Jones jokes, "She's a sweetie. She's just a little confused."

Clooney interrupts, "She's misunderstood."

Zeta-Jones notes, "I wanted to play her kind of charming, too. You know there must be a reason why these guys are falling all over her and marrying her left, right and center. I wanted her to just be a nice person. She's a romantic. I think they both are. Both of the characters are romantic, just misunderstood romantics."

Meanwhle Clooney he plays the world's greatest divorce lawyer who looks as if he's read too many self-help books.

Laughing, Clooney says, "He's done everything. You open that medicine cabinet, you know everything's in there. Joel and Ethan sort of felt like it was the grandson of the character I played in 'O Brother,' Everett McGill. You know, just not very bright, mostly. Even though, he was a very good divorce attorney, the rest of the stuff he's not too bright at. And so the minute that we sort of figured that out, we just started having a blast."

Clooney is featured in this month's Vanity Fair magazine. The article's title is, "Who Wouldn't Want To Be George Clooney?"

Asked if he is the happiest man on Earth, Clooney says with a big smile, "Well, I'm medicated and that seems to help. I'm much better now. And I'm able to go out in public (and laughs). I have a great life, you know. I have a great life. And yeah, I'm having a good time, right now.

When talk turns to Zeta-Jones' home life with husband Michael Douglas and their two children, Clooney jokes, "I want to be adopted."

Zeta-Jones responds, "You can come and be my little guy."

Turning serious, Clooney points out that Zeta-Jones and her family has visited him at his house in Italy. Zeta- Jones adds, "The kids, too. It was fantastic."

Asked if Clooney wants a family like that for himself, he turns to jokes again: " I do want that. I do want that for myself. But she's married. she's already got kids."

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