Director and actor George Clooney talks about his new movie, Ides of March, Obama, politics, Darfur and Berlusconi's bed.
Watch the video and say whether the statements below are true or false. The activity is suitable for Advanced students.
1 In the film, Ides of March, Clooney plays the part of a conservative guy running for President.
2 Clooney thinks that the fact that politicians lie is very often more serious than their immoral actions.
3 Clooney and his team decided to delay the filming of Ides of March after Obama's election as president.
4 Clooney is disappointed with Obama.
5 Clooney has a house in Italy.
6 Clooney was called as a witness in Berlusconi's trial.
7 Clooney convinced Berlusconi to lend them eleven helicopters for Darfour.
8 Clooney is considering to run for president.
The problem with having George Clooney is that everybody in your life, who haven’t heard from in a long time, is like, ‘Hey, you think I could meet George Clooney?’ And here’s George Clooney, meet George Clooney. Welcome.
Hello. So the poster, right, fantastic.
Yeah, it’s okay. Half of it’s good.
So, it’s a terrific movie and having been in politics myself, you get the politics alright, I think.
George plays this guy running for President who’s very left-wing.
I mean, is there any sense that, that like there’s somebody who could actually succeed.
You could picture a scenario where this could work.
It could work right now.
It could work in the… now, as, as the left is the center and the right is further right. I’d be pretty hard to run as a guy who’s, you know, as progressive as this guy is. But, you know, on the other hand this is a Democratic primary…
… and everybody sort of moves further to the left and, you know, we say a lot of the things that really is red meat for, for liberals. So, you know, and we do it specifically because we’re going to make this guy, you know, make mistakes along the way.
Yeah. But, I mean, in our culture now there, do people make a separation? Like you allowed this personal moral failing, but that doesn’t really influence who you are as a, as a politician.
I don’t know. It depends on how you handle it. I mean, honestly, I really do think in general political moral failings almost always, almost always come down to not just the hubris, not just the stupid act itself, but covering up of that stupid act. I truly believe that if Nixon had taken the tapes and burned them on his front lawn and said, these belong to me, you know, screw you, I think Watergate would have been a very different case. If you come out right away and go, welp, you got me, I think you have a better shot at it than if you try to hide it.
I won’t even make all the references to that that exist, John Edwards, etc.
We, we wrote it before John Edwards, the scandal, broke out.
Not, not before John Edwards was, you know, but before the… but before the scandal actually broke, we, we’d already written it and we were actually in pre-production and then Obama was elected. And it was a funny thing because it is a pretty cynical film. And everybody was in such a good mood. I was sitting with Grant Helsoff who has been my, my partner in, in films for, you know, almost 30 years now, and he and I were sitting there, we were feeling pretty good, the script’s in good shape, the cast is coming together. And we realized that everybody is in such a good mood that we couldn’t possibly make this movie now. And then it took about a year. Badge of the country, very good for film-making.
So let’s talk about President Obama. Are you one of those progressives who is disappointed with how he’s been in office?
I get sort of angry actually at people who don’t stand around and stand for him. Republicans are very good at rallying around and standing with their candidate. If this was a republican president, they would be bragging, not on the issues, because they’re not gonna be bragging on don’t ask, don’t tell and things like that, but they would say, We’re losing 400,000 jobs a month, we stopped it. We saved the car industry, we, you know, you could go down the list. We passed a health care bill. Is it perfect? No, but neither was social security when it started. I could give you a list of things that he’s done that if you were gonna sell it, you would be selling this as a very successful presidency. Particularly as polarized as it is right now.
And do you chastise your liberal progressive friends by saying, hey, you got to support this guy.
There’s just two ways of doing this. You know, it’s half empty or half full, and we, Democrats, tend to generally eat own, you know.
They pull one thing out and go, you didn’t support us enough on this issue, so you didn’t do it. And I find that to be silly.
Now you have a house in Italy, right?
I do, yes.
So you spend a lot of time there. And we look at American politics, I look at Italy and think, hey, it’s not so bad. Anything we, we can learn from Italy? I mean, what are the lessons or the counter lessons that we can learn?
I don’t know. I mean, there’s no… I, I’ve had one evening with Berlusconi that was one of the more astonishing evening in my life.
Didn’t he ci, he cited you in his defence?
Yeah, he wanted me to be in his defence and I, and I spoke to their people and said, I’ll, I will come and testify if you’d like, because I wasn’t at the party that the… I was said to have been at, and that’s what they were using me as the defence, saying that I wasn’t at his bunga-bunga party. But I was at another party. I went there to speak about Darfour. And, you know, I’d done all my homework. I’d shown up and said, you hace 33 C1-47 helicopters, you have eleven of them in Afghanistan. You need eleven others down. That leaves eleven, we have, we need three. We’ve got South Korean pilots that can do it. We just need three helicopters in Darfur. And there was, you know, and it was an amazing conversation of, you need to grab his shoulder in his bedroom, and the bed that Putin had given him, there’s so many jokes and so little time.
Ronald Reagan said, when he was asked, how can an actor be president? How can the President not be an actor? So, how good an actor, how good an actor is Obama?
If you consider a good actor to be the guy that you want to do when you’re doing the live TV drama, or when you got one take left and the sun is setting, then he’s a very good actor because with his back against the wall he’s always terrific, always, every time.
Would you run?
No, I run from… I mean, I honestly think about it. I don’t have to compromise like that, you know. I get to say, oh, I think that what’s going on in North, South is bad. And I don’t have to worry that the Chinese would be upset if I say, or the Russians are upset. I can just say this is something we have to deal with and I don’t have to compromise so much. I like my job’s much more fun.
1F 2T 3T 4F 5T 6F 7F 8F