The Notebook essentially launched Ryan Gosling's career as an A-lister in Hollywood, but the iconic romance movie could have starred George Clooney. In his upcoming movie The Midnight Sky, 59-year-old Clooney will be playing an older version of a character played by 34-year-old Ethan Peck. Speaking about the movie with Entertainment Weekly, Clooney was reminded of the time he was set to star in The Notebook in the role that later went to Gosling.

"I was going to do a movie years ago called The Notebook, that Ryan Gosling actually did, and I was going to do it with Paul Newman. I was playing the flashback and Paul Newman was the old guy."
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In The Notebook, James Garner played an older version of Gosling's character, and this would have been the role meant for Newman. While both actors saw the potential of the project, Clooney says they got cold feet once they realized that they really didn't look that much alike. Realizing that audiences may not buy George Clooney and Paul Newman as the same character, both actors stepped away from the project, opening the door for Gosling to step in years later.

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

Directed by Nick Cassevetes and written by Jeremy Leven and Jan Sardi, The Notebook is based on the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name. It tells the story of an elderly man reading a tale from his notebook to a fellow patient at a nursing home, regaling the lifelong romance between young lovers Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton. The movie has since become known as one of the most famous romantic dramas of all time, turning Gosling into a superstar alongside co-star Rachel McAdams.

Clooney has done just fine without The Notebook, as he has starred in many other movies since and continues to direct and star in movies to this day. He can next be seen in The Midnight Sky with Ethan Peck as the younger version of his character, Augustine. Clooney also directs using a screenplay by Mark L. Smith, and the cast also features Felicity Jones, Kyle Chandler, David Oyelowo, and Demian Bichir. A post-apocalyptic story, it follows a lonely scientist racing to stop a group of astronauts from "returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe."

It's hard to imagine Clooney over Gosling in The Notebook, and it appears that even Clooney knows that it was best for him not to get involved. Meanwhile, you can catch Clooney in The Midnight Sky on Netflix in December 2020. This news comes to us from Entertainment Weekly.