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George Clooney gets political at The Ides of March BFI Press Conference

21 October 2011

George Clooney was in a political mood at the press conference for his upcoming release Ides of March.

The conference, taking place in central London as part of the 55th London Film Festival, also featured Academy Award winning actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, as well as Evan Rachel Wood – two stars of the impending political drama.

However, the spotlight was on Clooney, who not only stars as a leading role within the film, but wrote and directed it as well – and with such a central role in the making of the feature – widely tipped for Oscar nominations next year – Clooney spoke about his father’s inspiration when making the movie, as well the difference in ego’s between actors and politicians.

“There are scenes directly a result of conversations I had with my Father when he running for congress,” Clooney said.

“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. You can’t finance your own unless you’re independently wealthy, which my father isn’t, which is even the case in a small congressional district in Kentucky could cost you a couple million dollars to run so you end up having to make deals you normally wouldn’t find as attractive. So there were plenty of scenes about that.”

The film, despite being fictional, is a quite realistic take on modern politics, and Clooney felt that despite the scandalous and somewhat shameful behaviour of some of the characters within the film, it remains a fair reflection of real life.

“I do know that there are certainly deals made all the time for cabinet posts, I know that for sure. We also know that scandal is not uncommon. But I think it reflects things that are pretty timeless and not necessarily restricted to government,” he stated.

“But, right now in the United States, 95% of the people that win elections have the most money, that’s it. So money is a big part of elections right now.”

But Clooney didn’t stop there, as he bemoaned the difficulties in playing a politician – due to size of their egos.

“Playing a candidate is tricky because you would think that actors have gigantic ego’s, and they do, but politicians have a tremendous amount of ego,” he continued.

“It’s very hard when the product your selling to entire country is yourself and your just selling the hell out of it, all the time. Ego was something that was really tricky to embrace; these guys really are saying ‘I’m the best’.”

Whilst over in Britain, the star, also appearing in The Descendants - another film playing at the Film Festival, also had a quick word on British politics. As the 50-year-old Oscar winner claimed, “I love watching the House of Commons because I think its fun. It really is. ‘Order!’

“It’s such a different way of doing things. We don’t do that. It’s very fun and I can’t quite figure out what’s happening, I’m not sure who won but I enjoy watching it,” he finished.

These thoughts were echoed by Hoffman, who also spoke of the difficulties in playing such self-assured characters.

“It was hard. Paul Giamatti and I were talking about that, and how it was the only thing that I couldn’t bear about the character – that he was in the public eye all the time, because that’s something that I don’t feel comfortable with at all,” Hoffman said.

“I just don’t understand why someone would want to thrust themselves into the public eye every day.”

The Ides of March Film Page