George Clooney Reveals He Almost Played Ryan Gosling's Role in 'The Notebook'

The Notebook's Noah Calhoun almost looked very different! George Clooney revealed during a virtual chat at the 64th BFI London Film Festival that he nearly played Ryan Gosling's iconic role in the movie adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' romance novelist, as per Deadline. In addition to that revelation, the 59-year-old actor revealed Paul Newman would have played the older version of his character, which was eventually cast as James Garner.

"We were going to do The Notebook together," Clooney said of Newman. "Basically, I was going to play him as a young man, and it was funny. We met and said, 'This is it. It’s going to be great.'" The Midnight Sky actor and director eventually backed out of the project while watching some of Newman's old films to prepare. "He’s one of the handsomest guys you’ve ever seen," he explained. "We met up [again] and I said, 'I can’t play you. I don’t look anything like you. This is insane.' ...We just wanted to do it because we wanted to work together, [but] it ended up being not the right thing for us to do."

While Clooney and Newman never got to work together on a project before the latter's death in 2008, Clooney said he always admired him as a class act with a killer sense of humor. "We had a very funny relationship, late in life for him. I directed a movie that just completely bombed called Leatherheads. [Newman] was still racing at the time, and raced a car, and crashed it," Clooney recalled. "So, he took a photo of Leatherheads and superimposed it on the crashed car, and said, ‘I was driving your car in the race.’"

Clooney also reflected on one of the more iconic films he did end up taking on, directing Good Night, and Good Luck in the 2000s while openly criticizing the war in Iraq. "In 2003 and 2004, there were like five or six of us saying this is a terrible idea, and everyone else who thought [that] was keeping quiet," the actor said. "I just remember that feeling, the idea that the most patriotic thing you can do in the world is to question your government." Clooney has no regrets looking back, saying he will "always" believe he did the right thing at the time. "I was raised the son of a newsman," he said of his strong beliefs.