George Clooney Ides of March Interview
George Clooney Ides of March Interview
George Clooney is one of the most famous faces in Hollywood, having been a regular on our TV and cinema screens for nearly 30 years, since he first took on the role of a doctor in the comedy show E/R. With his part as the caped crusader in Batman and Robin in 1997 and playing his most famous medical character, Doctor Doug Ross from 1999 onwards, he really began to hit the big time.

Having starred in the likes of the Ocean’s Eleven series, O Brother Where Art Thou?, The Perfect Storm, Burn After Reading and Fantastic Mr Fox, he has since moved onto directing as well as acting. Here he talks to View’s Matthew Turner about his latest political thriller, The Ides of March, the difference between politicians and actors and the thrill of directing.

How much is this film coloured by your father's recent experiences of running for office?

George Clooney

There were certainly elements of it. There's a scene in the car with Jennifer Ehle and myself that was pretty much directly the result of a conversation I had with my father about running for Congress. There are hands that you have to shake that you wouldn't normally shake and it's unfortunate but that's the way it is ... just to raise finances alone unless you're independently wealthy, which my father isn't. Even a small congressional district in Kentucky can cost you a couple of million dollars to run. So, you end up having to do all those parties and show up at all those events and shake hands with people that you normally wouldn't find attractive.
How closely do the themes of this film - morality and compromise - reflect the modern political world?

George Clooney

I do know that there are certain deals made all the time for cabinet posts, I know that for sure. We know that scandal is not uncommon. I think people will position whatever their government ailment is around it. But I think that it reflects things that are pretty timeless. And they're not necessarily restricted to government - they can apply equally to power or hubris.
If it betters yourself and harms someone else, is it worth it?
Was the idea of compromise that underpins this story one of the big appeals for you?

George Clooney

I think that one of the questions the film is trying to raise is: Is it worth it? It's basically the same question that we all are facing at one time or another - if it betters yourself and harms someone else, is it worth it? And sometimes the answer might be, yes. I mean, if negative advertising about someone results in some rotten things being said about them but the right guy gets in office and those elections have consequences in other people's lives, then it's worth it, I suppose. So, the question is always at what point is that moral scale where it's actually worth doing.
What was the trickiest thing for you about playing a politician?

George Clooney

The funny thing is that playing a candidate is tricky because you always think that actors have this gigantic ego, and they do, but the ego it takes to be able to pose for a photo that involves having your chin up like this [poses like a political candidate poster] - politicians have a tremendous amount of ego to be able to do it. It's very hard when the product you’re selling to an entire country is yourself and you're just selling the hell out of it all the time. Listen, we have to have it and we need someone who's really good at it but ego was something that was really tricky to embrace as a politician. They really are saying: "I'm the best!"
The film shows a side of politics where you have to trade your soul to get to the top. How Machiavellian is Hollywood?

George Clooney

Well, when I die I go to hell, I know that! [Laughs] Actors aren't like that. The business can be that way, there's a certain cut-throat element. While I'm sure you guys have all met a few actors that you'd like to take their heads off, most of them are pretty kind to one another because you're so lucky when you get to be in position where you get to be in a film. You're very privileged and you understand that it's not just your brilliance that got you there - that you're sitting on the shoulders of a lot of happy accidents along the way. So, you recognise that in one another. And so I think that there's a certain generosity in most actors that I don't see in politics.
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Content updated: 24/02/2020 15:51

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