could have beens

The Notebook Starring George Clooney and Paul Newman Was Almost a Reality

The romantic lead in everyone’s fantasies. Photo: SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Just when you’re convinced we’re in the bad timeline (global warming, GLOW canceled, a pandemic), we get a glimpse at an alternate universe to remind us everything is okay. Today, that peek comes from minor god George Clooney while promoting his upcoming Netflix movie, The Midnight Sky (no relation to Miley Cyrus’s pop-rock FU of the same name), at the virtual BFI London Film Festival. The 59-year-old recalled his plans with the late Paul Newman to star in Nicholas Sparks’s The Notebook. “We were going to do The Notebook together,” Clooney said, according 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.’” Instead of Ryan Gosling and James Garner playing young and old Noah Calhoun, it would’ve been Clooney and Newman, who died of cancer in 2008. But then Clooney went home, watched a few of Newman’s classics, and chickened out. “He’s one of the handsomest guys you’ve ever seen,” he continued. “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.” Ah, we all know the experience of excitedly planning a business with your friend drunk one night and then realizing it’s never gonna happen. As much as we want that piece of cinema history, the 2004 film ended up starring Gosling opposite Rachel McAdams and Garner opposite Gena Rowlands. Gosling could pull off Doug Ross, M.D., but could Clooney pull off an iconically sleazy MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Kiss set to “She Will Be Loved,” by Maroon 5? We would like to see it.

George Clooney and Paul Newman Were Almost in The Notebook