You can only imagine how intimidating it might feel as a young actor to step onto a Jodie Foster-directed set with your new costars George Clooney and Julia Roberts. But Jack O’Connell, the British actor best known for his role as Louis Zamperini in Unbroken, held his own while playing the unhinged investor who hijacks the financial investment television show Money Monster, which features Clooney as host Lee Gates and Roberts as his level-headed producer.
Clooney and O’Connell got to know each other quickly on set, bonding over their Irish heritage and their love of sports. But it wasn’t until Clooney teased O’Connell that the 25-year-old actor knew he fit in.
As O’Connell tells the story, part of his prep before a heavy scene is to do a series of push-ups (press-ups, as he calls them in his thick accent.) Let’s let him tell the story:
“One time I was doing some press-ups on set as part of my method as an actor, I take it quite seriously,” says O’Connell. “And [Clooney] turns up behind me and starts performing these 1940s calisthenics. I really had my pants down at that moment. The whole crew is laughing and I’m wondering why they are laughing. I look up and see him in full float. I was quite embarrassed. But it’s literally my method. I was doing press-ups, so I guess I probably deserved it.”
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O’Connell had the opportunity to get back at Clooney, especially once he saw the choreographed dance numbers the Oscar-winning actor learns as part of his routine as cheesy host Gates. But O’Connell demurred.
“I don’t know how seriously he took that so I didn’t want to,” he says with a laugh. “We’re not there yet.”
Money Monster opens nationwide May 13.