George Clooney Says He Almost Starred in The Notebook

Kimberly Truong
·1-min read

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The Notebook, as we know it, was almost a very different film.

The 2004 movie based on the Nicholas Sparks novel launched Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams into mainstream fame, but George Clooney says that in an earlier version of the project, he was set to star as Gosling's Noah Calhoun, with Paul Newman playing the older version of the character.

"We were going to do The Notebook together," Clooney revealed to Deadline. "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.'"

However, Clooney recalled that he expressed some concerns about the role in a conversation with Newman, who passed away in 2008.

"Paul and I talked about doing it, and we were sitting there one day and I was looking at him and I go, 'I can't do this movie, Paul,'" Clooney told Entertainment Weekly. "He was like. 'Why?' I was like, 'Because everybody knows what you look like at 30 years old. You got blue eyes, I got brown eyes. You're too famous at 30 for me to be playing you at 30, it's never gonna work.' And he's like, 'I guess you're right.'"

He added, "We bailed out and I think 10 years later they made it."

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10 years may be an exaggeration — the novel was published in 1996 and the movie was released in 2004. However, Tom Cruise and even Justin Timberlake were reportedly attached to the project at some point, so it seems like a wide net was cast during the development process. Still, it's hard to imagine the movie with anyone other than Gosling in the role now.