Since breaking away from his full-time primetime TV gig in 1999, former ER star George Clooney — whose career got a major boost with last summer's smash hit, The Perfect Storm — admits that the sheer volume of scripts being offered to him has jacked up considerably.

"I'm in a position now where I'm getting offered a lot," the actor tells TV Guide Online, "The nice thing is that, as you work with [directors like] Steven [Soderbergh] and Joel and Ethan Coen, and then something like Three Kings comes out, the quality of the projects is better and/or you get an earlier crack at them."

One part Clooney was surprised to find himself filling was that of impromptu bluegrass singer Everett McGill in the Coen brothers' latest offering, O Brother, Where Art Thou?. "The first bad sign," he says, recalling the conclusion of his first recording session for the film, "was when I looked up, and I couldn't get any eye contact from anyone. It was actually a very embarrassing moment, because I had worked really hard on it." (In the finished film, Clooney's vocals are supplied by Dan Tyminski.)

"I am smart about one thing," notes the would-be singer, who admits that he supervised the destruction of each of his recordings, lest they fall into the wrong hands, or on the Internet. "I was like [Nixon secretary] Rosemary Woods, erasing tapes everywhere!"

Yet the role of crooner is not the only one which Clooney has ceded in recent years. "I'm now the Former Sexiest Man Alive," he says with faux lament, referring to the title bestowed on him years ago by People magazine. "Harrison Ford and I are over at this retirement home with Denzel Washington, sitting around, drinking and feeling humiliated."