George Clooney has the hardship of unemployment "deep" in his "soul".

The 'Ides of March' march actor spent much of his early career struggling to make ends meet, which is why when he became famous, he decided to put some of the money into a villa in Lake Como, Italy.

He explained to Parade magazine: "I bought it as an investment. I never liked the stock market - to me it's Vegas without any of the fun parts, the girls in bikinis.

"I like owning dirt. You know, I spent a lot of time broke when I moved to California. So deep in my soul is still this idea of being unemployed. To me, owning land means you could sell it at some point and have money."

The star turned 50 in May and has noticed he has matured on screen, but is hoping he can grow old gracefully.

He added: "I look at myself onscreen and go, 'I don't look like I did when I was 40 - I know that.'

"The people I've respected most in the industry over the years - Paul Newman, for instance. I just loved the way he handled growing old onscreen.

"It's understanding that you're now basically a character actor."

George also said the best lessons he's learned in life are that sometimes you have to "fake it" and be overconfident to get a role, and never be afraid to fail.