By Lanford Beard
Updated February 29, 2012 at 08:53 PM EST
George Clooney
Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Outspoken Oscar winner George Clooney recently sat down with The Advocate to discuss his appearance in a staged reading of Academy Award-winning Milk scribe Dustin Lance Black’s Prop 8 play, 8. Though the interview primarily dealt with Clooney’s feelings on gay rights, the actor did offer up a few nuggets about his famous friends Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling.

Of his Ides of March costar, Clooney — who never misses a minute to invoke his two-time Sexiest Man Alive status — decried Gosling’s 2011 SMA snub. “Not that I don’t think Bradley Cooper is a perfectly sexy guy,” qualified Clooney, “but I’m still shocked that Ryan Gosling didn’t get Sexiest Man Alive last year. I thought he worked hard and ran a very solid campaign, so I feel that he was ripped off.”

And just as he lifted our spirits, Clooney would immediately crush them, admitting, “People think Brad and I hang out all the time, but the truth is that we see each other very rarely, maybe a couple times a year. ” Still, he said of his A-list bromance, “I do think we’ve set the bar very high [for other actor duos] … I’m very proud to call him my friend.”

As for his participation in 8, Clooney explained, “I felt that it was important to again bring focus to an issue that, in the very near future, we’ll look back on and laugh at the fact that it was ever an issue. It’s the right thing to do.” He drew parallels between this struggle and the Civil Right movement, saying, “One day the marriage equality fight will look as archaic as George Wallace standing on the University of Alabama steps keeping James Hood from attending college because he was black. People will be embarrassed to have been on the wrong side.”

Clooney addressed rumors about his sexuality and the issue of actors feeling pressure to stay closeted in Hollywood. “My private life is private, and I’m very happy in it. Who does it hurt if someone thinks I’m gay? I’ll be long dead and there will still be people who say I was gay. I don’t give a s—.”

He credited stars Neil Patrick Harris and Ellen DeGeneres, who “have opened the door to making [being out in Hollywood] easier for everyone” but did admit, “A lot of actors come from a place of fear” when it comes to coming out or being vocal about politics. “You also have to remember that it’s very easy to immediately disenfranchise an actor with an opinion, because other than Ronald Reagan, actors aren’t allowed to have opinions,” he said.

What about playing gay? Will Clooney follow in the footsteps of buddy Matt Damon, who will play opposite Michael Douglas in an upcoming Liberace biopic? “There are a bunch of interesting stories out there, but I just haven’t found a screenplay with a gay subject that felt right for me as something that I could direct or act in. I’m certainly not avoiding it,” he said. “Whether it’s about being gay or it just happens to have a gay character, if it’s a great screenplay, let’s go do it.”

Clooney joins Chris Colfer, John C. Reilly, Kevin Bacon, and more in the staged reading of 8 this Saturday in Los Angeles.

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