NEW YORK – Meeting George Clooney (search) and Catherine Zeta-Jones (search) in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel to discuss "Intolerable Cruelty" (search) carries an air of strange appropriateness. This is, after all, the kind of swanky love shack where Clooney's divorce-attorney character might send an investigator to capture evidence for use in a nasty breakup battle, the kind that is part and parcel for Zeta-Jones' scheming divorcée in the romantically razor-sharp Coen brothers comedy.
But today it's a laugh-filled working honeymoon, as Clooney, 42, and Zeta-Jones, 34, banter about their on-screen screwball comedy union, which opens tomorrow.
Q: This film definitely has a movie star aesthetic, but you're also sending up that image.
Zeta-Jones: People know so much about movie stars now. They know who you're sleeping with, who you're having breakfast with ...
Clooney: Which are two different people ...
Zeta-Jones: [Laughs.] ... and it takes the mystique away when you're doing an acting gig and people go, "She's married to Michael Douglas and has two kids."
Q: What do you think this movie has to say about the never-ending negotiation between men and women?
Zeta-Jones: I think it's going on more and more, that what you come into a relationship with, you should take out, and then take a bit more! [Laughs.]
Clooney: Well, your husband did a straighter version of this same movie, in a way, with "War of the Roses."
Zeta-Jones: I love that movie! If I ever do a movie with my husband I would want to remake [that]. Then people would really know what it's like.
Q: What did Michael think about your making this movie?
Zeta-Jones: He thought it was ironic. And then when he realized what kind of character I was, he was kind of alarmed at first. I'm surprised I didn't get more questions at the press junket. "Catherine Zeta-Jones tells all."
Clooney: I got married at the press conference in Venice. A woman in the press corps came in with a preacher, ran up and married me.
Zeta-Jones: She had it all on video, the rice, she threw a bouquet. But for that split second I thought she was going to pull out a gun or a knife.
Clooney: I know. There was that moment of "Crazy! Crazy! Crazy! Run!" It was funny, but it went on too long. That's the problem. A good joke's got to be funny. Get in, get out.
Q: OK, so Catherine, you're famously married, and George, you're famously ...
Clooney: ... Not married, that's right.
Q: Did you two have discussions about this?
Zeta-Jones: I told him everything I know. [Laughs.] I can't believe this world fascination with "Let's get George married!" I'm going to get a T-shirt: "Get George married!" I mean, God bless him. The guy can't have fun. It's not fair!
Clooney: She didn't sit me down and say, "Listen, this is what you've got to do."
Zeta-Jones: If I hadn't found my husband, I wouldn't be married.
Clooney: Yeah, no advice. But I'm open. Anything you want. Write it in a letter form.
Zeta-Jones: I think you'd make a great dad, though.
Clooney: I'm a really good uncle.
Zeta-Jones: Oh, uncle. Not as far as dad?
Clooney: Yeah, just stuff 'em full of sugar, give 'em some cash and send 'em back to their parents. Teach them all the wrong things to say.