George Clooney says Ben Affleck was his first choice for the role of Uncle Charlie in 'The Tender Bar'.

The 60-year-old Hollywood icon directed the 2021 coming-of-age drama - which is an adaptation of the 2005 memoir of the same name by J. R. Moehringer - and has revealed the 49-year-old actor was the first person both he and producer Grant Heslov thought of to portray the "smart and well-read" character.

When the interview joked that they chose Affleck over Matt Damon, 51, Clooney quipped: "It was. Hard times, and we thought we could get him cheap. You know, it's funny, this is a character that when Grant [Heslov, Tender's producer] and I read it, we were like, 'Well, who's going to play that part?' And both of us at the same time thought about Ben.

"We've worked with Ben before. We like him a lot. He's very smart, which this character has to be. He's well-read, as Ben is. And he's also the guy who works at a bar, a working-class guy, and Ben has the ability to do that. To me, it was always like listening to the Sopranos doing Shakespeare. There was something really interesting about hearing these guys with Long Island accents but they're talking about, you know, great authors."

Uncle Charlie, the owner of a local bar, is like a father to J. R. (Tye Sheridan) and encourages him to become a writer.

And the 'Money Monster' star also revealed Affleck sent him "a two-page email" explaining why he was the perfect fit for the part.

Clooney added to Entertainment Weekly: "So when we sent it to Ben, It was about this time last year, I guess, and we didn't know what he was doing. Didn't know what his world was like. And he sent back like, a two-page email that went on forever about why he's exactly the right guy and how he's going to kick ass and he'll do it for nothing."