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Clooney and Zeta-Jones Are Too Kind to be Cruel

NEW YORK ( -- Moviegoers might really enjoy "Intolerable Cruelty." They'll chuckle and they'll laugh at the jokes. They'll probably admire Joel Coen's directorial flair. And no doubt they'll get a kick of out the chemistry between marquee toppers Catherine Zeta-Jones and George Clooney. But what audiences will surely remember most about "Intolerable Cruelty" is Clooney's teeth.

That's right, his pearly white chompers are so prominently and so blindingly displayed in the film that they deserve their own co-star credit.

"Well, the Coens said, 'We've got to do something, like with your hair on the last one,'" Clooney cracks, referring to "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" "So they sort of obsessed with teeth on this one. I might be doing another film with them. I'm running out of body parts. Maybe wax my back. I don't know what we're going to do next!"

"Intolerable Cruelty" casts Clooney as Miles Massey, a divorce lawyer in Los Angeles who's seemingly got it all. Then he meets Marylin Rexworth (Zeta-Jones) and promptly realizes that maybe he doesn't have it all -- because he doesn't have her. Unfortunately, getting her isn't so easy, as she's divorcing his wealthy client (Edward Hermann) and it's Miles' task to make sure that Marylin gets nothing. She indeed gets nothing and then vows to get even. And then, of course, the romantic sparks really fly.

Right now, at a Manhattan hotel, Clooney and Zeta-Jones are together again to meet with and the rest of the media to discuss the film, which co-stars Billy Bob Thornton, Geoffrey Rush and Cedric the Entertainer. Clooney and Oscar winner Zeta-Jones are seated next to one another for a mini-press conference, and they share a nice and comfortable repartee. Both crack up when asked to describe the best and worst thing about working with the other.

"George is great to work with," Zeta-Jones enthuses. "I want to do it all again -- some day. I think the first scene we did was the scene in the restaurant and it was like, 'Hi, nice to meet you.' But we'd met briefly before, at a screening of the very first cut of 'Traffic.' But it was just a very easy working experience with George. And fun, fun, fun. He has such an easy way of getting things done and having a blast whilst you're doing it."

Clooney returns the compliment. Sort of.

"Hah!" he shouts. "Can we start with the worst thing? The worst thing is that we had to stop. But you know, there was nothing bad about it. We had such a fun time doing this. Catherine will show up, and we'll just have a blast. All of us, because it's not just a bunch of guys, it's a family -- everyone from Joel and Ethan to the cinematographer and all the crew. The first time you walk in it's a little intimidating. And it takes about four seconds to feel comfortable there."

He pauses and looks over at his co-star. "And when Catherine walked in it was immediately like, 'OK, let's go. I got it. I understand.' And from the minute we started we had fun. We did meet at a screening of the very first cut of 'Traffic.' It was like four hours!"

Zeta-Jones and Clooney are A-list stars these days. They're respected actors and major celebrities, too. Choosing a film to commit to is a big deal for both of them, and the bigger the film, the bigger the directors and co-stars, the higher the stakes.

"As we all know, there are so many things that can go wrong on a film," Clooney says. "So it always has to start with the screenplay, and then the director, because those are the two things you can't really do without. You can make a really bad film out of a good script, but you're not likely to make a bad film out of a good script. And then the director (brings something to the table), since it's their voice and their ideas. So those are the first two elements. Then you hope to get to work with really good actors. Then you hope that all of these elements come together as you go. But mostly, you can't start without a script that you don't think isn't fun or interesting in some way. And that's harder than you think to find."

"For me, obviously, it's the script," Zeta-Jones says. "But also, it's all the other elements that come in. You take a piece of material and then you get Joel and Ethan in that equation. And then George. And all that, just that whole equation, is exciting to me. So there are many things that make choose what to do. But I think, primarily (in the case of 'Intolerable Cruelty'), it was on the page."

Zeta-Jones and Clooney have clearly been reading scripts they've liked and meeting with directors of strong voice and great vision. That's a fancy way of saying they've both committed to upcoming projects.

"I'm doing a movie with Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, and it's called 'Terminal ,'" Zeta-Jones says who will play a flight attendant with whom disenfranchised Eastern European immigrant Hanks falls in love. "I start in (two) weeks."

Clooney, meanwhile, in March will reunite with Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and the rest of the "Oceans Eleven" cast for a sequel, "Oceans Twelve."

"We're shooting a little bit in Paris and Amsterdam and then in Rome for a while," he says. "It's a tough shoot, really awful to do. Nah, it's gonna be fun. We're going to have a good time. And we got everybody. Everybody came back. The first thing that happens is that everybody starts talking. We had a big hit, so immediately it became these big negotiations. It was really interesting. (Then) we all sat in a room and said, 'Look, let's do it for five percent less, and then we can be able to say we're there because we want to be there.' That's truly why we're there. We all just went, 'OK, let's do it that way.' It's fine. You know, we had a lot of fun doing the last one, and we made good money. So if it works, it works, and if it doesn't, we got to make a movie together again. And I'll shoot myself!"

The Universal Studios film "Intolerable Cruelty" opens wide Oct. 10.

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