George Clooney Interview For ‘The Ides of March’
Directed and starring George Clooney, ‘The Ides of March’ takes place during the frantic last days before a heavily contested Ohio presidential primary, where an up-and-coming campaign press secretary (Ryan Gosling) finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate’s shot at the presidency. Alongside Ryan Gosling and George Clooney the film stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Max Minghellal Jeffrey Wright and Evan Rachel Wood. ‘The Ides Of March’ opens in cinemas October 7th in the US and October 28th in the UK. The movie will be Clooney’s fourth film as director after ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,’ ‘Good Night and Good Luck’ and ‘Leatherheads.’
This story of morality, you can pretty much put it in any situation, placing it in a political scenario must heighten the stakes though?
George Clooney: Oh yeah, I don’t really think of this as a political film, I figure you could put this story in Wall Street, you could pretty much put it anywhere. It’s all the same issues, issues of morality, issues of whether or not you’re willing to trade your soul for an outcome. I never thought of it as a political film, I liked some of the things that these characters had to do, and politics certainly raises the stakes. These power games, I don’t they’re anything new, they’ve been going on since Julius Caesar (laughs). I just think the fact that we continue to repeat them is our own definition of insanity.
Grant Heslov (co-writer and co-producer) and I were working on a piece about a morality play, a idea of the argument of ‘do the ends justify the means at any point?’ We were in the middle of doing another piece and then this play came around, and the play took place with these really extraordinary characters, inside a Democratic primary. We felt that the stakes get raised very quickly with that, we thought that was a very interesting place to place what we had been working on. So it was sort of Grant and I taking a piece of what we were working on, and we found something that matched it that gave us a real home.
Why was this story important for you to make?
George Clooney: We want to do stories that ask more questions than they answer, we want to do things that have people involved in a discussion after the movie – I like that, I’ve always like that. I grew up as a child of the 70’s film culture that had some of the great filmmakers making some of the great films, in arguably one of the most turbulent times – with the civil rights movements, the women’s rights movements, the drug counter culture, anti-war movement. We have another time now in the US and in the world that is very turbulent, I think it’s always good to talk about issues, and not necessarily be able to provide those answers.
The cast for this film incredible, how did you choose the actors?
George Clooney: I have some photos of them doing some very compromising things, so I forced them to do the film (laughs). We were very lucky, we happened to have a script that people wanted to work on, and luckily we were able to put together such an incredible cast. I really don’t know how we got quite so lucky, if I’m honest. The first person we cast was Ryan Gosling, the first person we asked was Ryan. We sent it to him and asked him if he would do it. We called pretty much everyone around the same time, luckily it was first choices for everyone.
This is you fourth film now in the directors chair, how do you find that experience? Also directing yourself…
George Clooney: I enjoyed directing myself…..’I thought you were really good in that take George’……’why thank you.’ (Laughs) I enjoy directing, it’s a very fun thing to do. Working with people who’ve done it as well, I think they would probably agree that it feels a little bit more creative directing. But it’s awfully easy when you have people like Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ryan Gosling, Jeffrey Wright ect. I can promise you that it’s a lot easier when you have really wonderful actors. It was a great experience, I like directing a lot.
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