Q: Does George Clooney do his own singing in "O Brother, Where Art Thou"?

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

You have to hand it to George Clooney ("The Monuments Men," 2014) — he gave it a shot. But the voice you hear singing in the film and on the smash-hit soundtrack is that of folk singer Dan Tyminski.

At an "O Brother, Where Art Thou" cast reunion at the Nashville Film Festival in 2020, Clooney recalled that everyone had high hopes for him — filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, soundtrack producer T Bone Burnett and Clooney himself.

"They assumed I could sing because my aunt was [pop and jazz singer] Rosemary Clooney," Clooney said.

Unfortunately, reality didn't meet the expectation.

Clooney said that the Coens and Burnett took him into a recording studio to do the song "Man of Constant Sorrow," a traditional Americana folk tune that, in the film, is a runaway hit for Clooney, Tim Blake Nelson ("Holes," 2003) and John Turturro's ("Severance") fictional band, The Soggy Bottom Boys. The song's wild success drives much of the film's plot.

That's a lot of pressure to put on an actor, and Clooney didn't hesitate to admit that he didn't deliver.

He said that when he stepped out of the booth after recording his take, no one could even meet his gaze. When he listened to the tape, he understood why: "It literally sounds like a cat caught in the wheel well of a truck driving down the street," he said.

"Then they brought in Dan Tyminski and he sang it for me. It was pretty humiliating."


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