Forget handbags and heels: the hottest accessories at the Michael Clayton premiere last night were bandages and crutches. Clayton star George Clooney and girlfriend Sarah Larson, both of whom were injured in a motorcycle accident last Friday, graced the red carpet at New York’s Ziegfield Theater, he with a bandaged hand and she on crutches. “We were [in the hospital] two hours, in and out,” he said. “[We got] X-rays and were taped up and bandaged and got out of there. We were bleeding pretty good but that’s sort of routine for a motorcycle accident. I’ve been riding for 30 years. These are accidents. They just happen.”
Midway down the carpet, Larson hobbled into the theater to rest her feet — one wrapped, the other in stilettos — but Clooney didn’t let the accident slow him down. “I got in a little trouble because I’m not really supposed to be riding a motorcycle,” he said. “So I just said, ‘You have to show up. You can’t call in sick.’” Lucky for me, the salt-and-pepper-haired dreamboat did show up. And so did a lesser known actor named Brad Pitt. Heard of him? As Clooney did at Pitt’s Assassination of Jesse James premiere last week, Pitt sped down the carpet, waved to cameras and sought shelter in the theater. No Angelina Jolie or children in sight. Other stars in attendance included Kate Walsh, Tate Donovan, Rene Russo, and Richard Kind.
In the film, Clooney plays Michael Clayton, a “fixer” who cleans up clients’ messes (i.e. crooked politicians and shoplifting wives) and faces his toughest challenge when a top litigator (Tom Wilkinson) tries to sabotage a firm. I still don’t quite understand the plot — and neither did the reporters next to me on the carpet — but it didn’t seem to confuse Clooney, who chose the project because of its script. “I like the idea of going after corporate America,” he said. “We used to make films like that all the time, and we’ve made them less and less and less. So you hope you can make one of these that ends up being successful so that you make more.”
Tilda Swinton (pictured, left), who plays in-house chief counsel Karen Crowder and will re-team with Clooney in the Coen’ Brothers’ Burn After Reading, said there was an important bond between her and Clooney that made working on the film enjoyable. “[We] share a very significant thing,” she said. “We find it very difficult to remember our lines, so it was divine to work with somebody else who you could share the blame with.”