jeffrey wright Jeffrey Wright & Paul Giamatti 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 Minghella, 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.’ Check out what Jeffrey Wright and Paul Giamatti had to say about the film below.

Can you talk a little bit about your characters, they both hold a lot of sway and power in the film?

Jeffrey Wright: My character Senator Thompson, he’s a guy you could describe as a King-maker. He’s got some sway over the outcome of the nomination, so he plays that to his advantage. I don’t think he’s necessarily serving the interests of the greater good, or his constituency. But he’s certainly serving the interests of his own ego pretty well (laughs). I think we see that too often in contemporary American politics, but that’s who he is.

Paul Giamatti: With my character, I think he represents the most Darwinian strand of it, the guy who‘s the most willing, or as we see him, the guy who’s most willing to do whatever it takes. He’s straight forward, and in a way I think I’m instructing Ryan Gosling’s character more in the realities of it than even Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character. He’s actually got a sort of decency to him that’s a liability. I’m showing this guy the real path, potentially at the end of the movie he’ll be more like my character than Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character- which is not a good thing, he’ll be worse than me. I dunno, I think there’s all these pressures, everybody is applying pressure to him, I’m just one of the most….sharkish (laughs).

Both your characters have their eyes truly fixed on their respective prize, regardless of what they do to other people.

Paul Giamatti: Yes, there is this sense of, ‘Hey man, get out of this if you can’t cut it,’ but there’s also something really ugly and macho about it, it is really ugly. I’m kind of pushing Ryan Gosling’s character and challenging him, belittling him, questioning his manhood almost – it’s creepy. But there is this weird sense that he doesn’t enjoy…..he enjoys the game of it, he enjoys winning, but he doesn’t enjoy destroying this guy, he just sees that he has to do it.

giamatti Jeffrey Wright & Paul Giamatti Interview For The Ides of March

Jeffrey Wright: My character is just trying to get as close to the throne as he can get, he’s got delegates that are gonna be, at the end of the day, the deciding factor in the Democrat nomination. So he’s holding onto these delegates, he’s gonna release them when he’s reciprocated for his kindness (laughs). He wants it all, he wants to be Vice President, he’s got the leverage at the end of the day to get there.

I found the film extremely engaging, there’s so many themes prevalent in this movie, even outside of the political world.

Jeffrey Wright: Yeah, I think what’s most dissapointing about our political leaders at times is that their public face is drastically different than the private, and that’s discouraging. This movie is very much about that, the masks that we wear, or that these characters wear. Obviously the film is accessible on a lot of levels, you don’t have to be a fan of politics to get into this movie. It’s about human decision making, the moral choices that we make as we face these challenges in our lives. Because it’s set in a political world the stakes are amped up, the tensions are that much greater, but it’s about human decisions at the end of the day.

How did you find working with George Clooney in his role of director and actor?

Paul Giamatti: It was great, and I heard it would be great. I knew people who had worked with him before, which is one of the reasons I was interested to work with him. He’s a lot of fun, he’s a funny guy because he’s a lot of fun but he’s also deeply serious about the film, he knew every element, how it was all going to fit together. He was totally in control, he kept it relaxed and fun. A great guy.