Tim McGraw Talks Character Building With Clooney in 'Tomorrowland'

Country singer opens up on admittedly confusing movie role and why acting is harder when people "know too much" about you

Tim McGraw visits SiriusXM in New York Credit: Robin Marchant/Getty Images

George Clooney leads the cast of the upcoming science-fiction adventure film, Tomorrowland. The Disney production, set for release in May 2015, casts the Oscar-winner as an inventor and former boy genius who befriends a science-minded teen in a whirlwind journey to uncover secrets of the otherworldly place known as "Tomorrowland." That place, according to the official movie synopsis, is somewhere in space and time, and somewhere in the main characters' collective memory. Sound a bit confusing? Well, the plot is still somewhat of a mystery even to another actor in the film, Tim McGraw.

"There's not much I can say about it because I read the script, I acted in the movie and I still don't understand it," the country singing actor tells Rolling Stone Country with a laugh. "It's a huge production; there's a lot going on. All the stuff I hear back, it's going to be spectacular. "

McGraw plays a father and a rocket scientist in the movie. ("Guess which one of those is a stretch," he jokes.) Tomorrowland is the country star's ninth feature film, following roles in such blockbusters as Country Strong, The Blind Side and Friday Night Lights.

"I get a lot [of scripts]; it's just finding the right thing for the right time," says McGraw. "It's got to be something that moves me. As an artist, you've got to have a visceral reaction. If you have to think about it, it's probably not the right thing."

The "Shotgun Rider" singer says his acting career presents a challenge he doesn't face in the music biz: staying in character and checking Tim McGraw at the door. But the two worlds share what he finds to be a hurdle these days: the lack of a private life for public figures.

"In this day and age, everybody knows everything about everybody, which I think is terrible because you don't have any mystique about anything, and that's why careers don't last as long," he says. "People say music isn't timeless anymore, well I don't think it's necessarily the music, I just think you know too much about the artist. So, when an actor is so good that you can know all that stuff about them and you still buy that character, still believe them every step of the way, that's something else. That's real art."

Directed by Brad Bird (Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, The Incredibles), Tomorrowland also stars Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Judy Greer and Kathryn Hahn.

"I got to work with some great people," says the husband of Faith Hill and father to three teenage daughters. "That ugly guy, George Clooney, that's who everybody at my house wants to talk about!"