|5 Things We Learned at The Ides of March Premiere|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Thursday, 20 October 2011 12:15|
There’s something about George Clooney. Maybe it’s his good looks. His charming smile. His irresistible charisma. His twinkly eyes.
Whatever it is, there’s something about Old Cloonmeister that makes women swoon, men smile, and journalists constantly ask the same questions about his girlfriend or his children.
But of course, Clooney is more than that. He’s a producer, a director and the co-writer of The Ides of March, based on Beau Willimon’s play, Farragut North.
A gripping tale of corruption, ambition and morals during a presidential election, Ides is a smart drama that makes intelligent (if already well-known) points about the political industry.
With this sophisticated depth in mind, here are five things we learned at The Ides of March premiere:
1. George Clooney doesn't have any children
Everyone knows that George Clooney doesn't have children. Which is obviously why one journalist at the premiere felt the need to ask about his non-existent children three times, just in case they sprang into being during the course of the evening. Would he want his imaginary offspring to enter politics?
"I am surprised that people still put themselves into it," commented Clooney. "I couldn’t imagine it – it’s such a difficult world."
2. George Clooney taught Ryan Gosling how to be sexy
Given the political tensions between the male characters, how was the rivalry on set? Was Ryan Gosling big competition in the sexy male stakes? "Oh, I helped train him. He was really struggling for this Sexiest Man Alive thing. He’s getting there now."
3. George Clooney’s character was written into the play
In between the questions about George Clooney's children (who don't exist by the way), we spoke to the Farragut North writer, Beau Willimon. Was he pleased with the translation of his characters to the screen? "100%. All of the characters you see in the movie are the same as in the play, but we’ve added a few key people – for instance, the candidate doesn’t exist in the play," explained the author.
How did that come about? "You hear about him offstage, but a play can only have so many characters before it becomes unproducable. With the movie, we had the opportunity to expand the world – and when that candidate’s played by George Clooney, he's one of the few actors in the world you actually believe could be President of the United States, so we wanted to exploit that. But yes, the story and the characters are absolutely true to the play."
4. Evan Rachel Wood also has no children
With George's children unable to attend the premiere, what with them not existing and all, the standard questions about children fell to Evan Rachel Wood. She doesn't have any children either. But if said descendants spontaneously erupted out of her womb while walking the red carpet, would she want them entering politics? "No. This movie would stop anyone wanting to go into politics!"
5. Beau Willimon is an interesting guy
In this sea of silly questions, we returned to interview Beau Willimon and discuss US politics. As you'd expect, he's an interesting guy, with a realistic attitude towards corruption and two-faced hypocrisy in politics. "I think we ask a lot of our politicians. We want them to be this perfect ideal of values and at the same time we want them to be leaders. Oftentimes, to be that you have to make choices that to most people would seem ethically unsound."
He continued: "A good example of that is Lyndon Johnson, the President who followed JFK. He was one of the most lying, two-faced sacks of shit that you’ll come across in the history of Presidential politics and yet without his manipulation of Congress and doing a lot of stuff that would make people feel uneasy, who’s to say if the Civil Rights Act would have got passed? And look at JFK, who in America we love and adore – his father bought the election. Yet at the same time, he embodies that sense of hope that Obama does. Or did. So we expect two diametrically opposed things. And this story addresses how these things butt up against one another."
I would write down a sixth interesting fact from the premiere - if only I could work out what Phillip Seymour Hoffman is staring at in this photo from the red carpet:
It's probably George Clooney's children. Maybe he's telling them not to go into politics.
Here are five other things we learned from The Ides of March press conference earlier that afternoon:
1. George Clooney is not running for President
Thank goodness people thought to double-check on his political ambitions, just to make sure that the successful actor/director/writer/producer isn't planning to change career.
"I think you just saw what would happen if I entered politics! I have a good life, a very comfortable existence and I'm able to, if I want to, dip my toe into issues involved in politics... but I find it much nicer where I am. And they're a lot smarter than I am."
2. There are Irish elections coming up
Did you know there are Irish presidential elections coming up? George does - or at least, he does now, after several questions about the Irish elections arose during the press conference. Does he have any advice for the candidates? "There's a line in the film, but I'm not allowed to say it here. No - I give no advice to political people."
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, on the other hand, was more than happy to offer words of wisdom to budding politicians: "Wear sweaters."
3. George Clooney finds British politics amusing
"I know very little about it. I love watching the House of Commons because I think it's fun. It's such a different way of doing things, and it's very fun. And I can't quite figure out what's happening or who won, but I enjoy watching it."
4. Evan Rachel Wood may become a director
Would any of the other cast ever want to follow George into directing? Evan sounds excited by the idea: "Maybe - I dunno if I'm there yet, but I love storytelling. I have things I'd like to do and everyone keeps telling me that's what I should be doing. There needs to be more female directors. So I'll step up!"
5. The Ides of March has nothing to do with Shakespeare
Why did they change the title of Beau Willimon's play? "The Ides of March actually refers to 15th March, so part of the reason was that the primary took place on 15th March. Farragut North was a little too specific for a general film. We always thought it was an interesting theme of a good friend and an enemy conspiring to take you out, but we weren't trying to tell anyone this was Shakespeare."
The Ides of March is out in UK cinemas on Friday 28th October - head this way for our Ides of March review.