George Clooney says Ben Affleck was his first choice for the role of Uncle Charlie in ‘The Tender Bar’.
The 60-year-old Hollywood icon directed the 2021 coming-of-age drama – which is an adaptation of the 2005 memoir of the same name by JR Moehringer – and revealed the 49-year-old actor was the first person both he and producer Grant Heslov thought of portraying the character as “smart and cultured”.
When the interview joked that they chose Affleck over 51-year-old Matt Damon, Clooney joked, “It was. Tough times, and we thought we could get him on the cheap. You know , it’s funny, it’s a character that when Grant [Heslov, Tender’s producer] and I read it, we were like, ‘Well, who’s going to play this part?’ And we both thought about Ben at the same time.
“We’ve worked with Ben before. We like him a lot. He’s very smart, which is what this character has to be. He’s cultured, just like Ben. And he’s also the guy who works in a bar, a working class guys, and Ben has the ability to do that. For me, it was always like listening to The Sopranos do Shakespeare. There was something really interesting about hearing those guys with Long Island accents, but they’re talking about, you know, great authors.”
Uncle Charlie, the owner of a local bar, is like a father to JR (Tye Sheridan) and encourages him to become a writer.