For one day at least, the glitz and grit of American politics has become the talk of Canada.
Co-writer, director and star George Clooney has brought his presidential primary drama "The Ides of March" to the Toronto International Film Festival, with the big red carpet premiere set for Friday evening. Before that, Clooney and co-stars Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, Evan Rachel Wood, and Max Minghella will take the stage to answer questions in a packed house press conference.
The film centers on a tense week before the Democratic presidential primary in Ohio, with Clooney as a would-be political savior closing in on the nomination. Boasting campaign artwork and rhetoric clearly modeled on President Obama's 2008 run, his lead seems safe until behind-the-scenes jealousy between his campaign manager (Hoffman) and whiz kid media manager (Gosling) threatens to blow up his entire operation.
A morally ambiguous window into the seedy machinations that pull the levers of government, the film is tipped as an Oscar contender. Check below for all the latest updates from the press conference, with quotes as exact as typing in real-time will allow.
09/09/2011 4:13 PM EDT
And the rest
Sorry, internet went out in the media lounge. The rest of the memorable quotes:
A reporter asks Clooney if it's harder to be a big movie star, or date in Hollywood.
I knew someone would do it. I'm a little disappointed that it's you. Honestly. What's your name? Paul? Everyone remember that name. The hard hitting interview by Paul. I think it's tremendous you asked the question, go back and tell your editor you asked the question.
Were there any politicians you based your character on?
No, there really weren't. Some of the speeches I used were some of the things my dad used to write about in the late 70s in the newspaper. And the idea that he had these issues that he had, seem to pop up every week. People think it's about the John Edwards thing, but this was written before the John Edwards thing even broke.
To Ryan Gosling, how being directed by Clooney helped his acting.
Well, it's kind of personal. The relationship between a director and actor. But he helped me to... George was possesed about this film. he was just possessed by it. It was nice for a change to just be directed and so that was it. i just trusted him and i just allowed him to take me into this world...
To which Clooney added:
The answer is I didnt actually have to help him. It all worked out.
09/09/2011 3:51 PM EDT
And now Ryan Gosling
What was it like working with George?
It was more than fun. It was life altering... [and Clooney throws him $50 bills]. Watching him work was like watching a unicorn being born every day. It was great to work with a director like George, who is as clear as he is, who knows exactly what he wants. Sometimes it feels like someone trying to explain a song that's in their head. He knows this film inside out, I was surprised by his level of enthusiasm for filmmaking. He only wanted to talk about the film... it was like talking to the movie in real time. He was very clear and he would give you this incredible direction and it was focused and he'd walk away and you'd realize he was spraying an Avion bottle on your crotch. And then he'd make you do your big scene with Philip Hoffman and Paul Giamatti with wet pants.Clooney on Gosling's performance:
Listen, you know... I think he knows it out of the park. This is a very difficult role -- you've got to be the center of a hurricane, you've got to carry everyone and everyone's point of view on your shoulders. It's a very hard thing to do, it requires intelligence for an actor. Worthing with Ryan was a delight. Working with all these actors, really makes it, I'm quite serious as you know, makes it really easy. And Ryan Just gives a tremendous performance in this film and I'm honored that he and everyone else did it.
Why did Ryan want to do the film?
I wanted to work with George. If George asks you to be in his movie, you just do the movie. And all of these actors are my favorite actors, so it was just a no-brainer for me.
Would this movie work with Canadian politics?
Nah... The Canadian version would be too nice.
Would Ryan run for office in canada?
I'm so confused. What's the question? No.
09/09/2011 3:44 PM EDT
Questions for George Clooney
Do your political leanings affect the roles you take/movies you write?
Not particularly. I didn't think of this as really a political film, I thought of this as a film about sort of moral choices, not about political strife. I thought it was a fun moral tale, and once you put it in politics it sort of amps up the problems. I thought that was fun.
What's the difference between George Clooney as a director vs. actor?
He's pretty much the same guy as George Clooney the actor. Basically the same height, same hair. Pretty much the same. I'm not quite sure what you want me to say about it except that I'm lucky enough to work with a great number of actors who elevate the project. That's the secret to being a great director.
How'd you get this great cast?
I had some pictures of a few of them in compromising positions so I got them to say yes. Actually some of them together, but that' something we'll let you figure out... They liked the script, they wanted to do the part, so you get out of the way.
The film makes me not want to vote... what are you trying to say?
I think that, you have to remember that films don't lead the way. A lot of people think films are trying to lead society. In general it takes about two years to get a film made. Mostly we're reflecting the moods of our country and our world. And if this film reflects some of the cynicism, that's probably good, it's not a bad thing to hold up a mirror to our politicians... But that wasn't what the film was designed to do. There isn't a person you have met that hasn't been met with moral questions... everyone makes moral choices to better themselves and hurt others along the way and whether the means justifies the ends. And whether thats in Wall Street -- it could have been better in Wall Street -- anywhere, that was our point.
Are our politics irreparably broken?
I think it's cyclical. I think we're at a period of time where it's probably not our best moment in poltiics. but if you look at the things Jefferson adn Adams did to each other, the 1800 election was pretty rotten and evil. Things change and are cyclical, so I'm hopeful.
09/09/2011 3:32 PM EDT
In honor of fashion week, you'll be pleased to learn that George Clooney is wearing a soft polo shirt and Ryan Gosling looks like he's in high school
09/09/2011 3:29 PM EDT
And in grand showbiz fashion
By "here we go," clearly I meant, "here we go as photographers take lots of photos and delay the proceedings."
09/09/2011 3:26 PM EDT
Here we go
Something deliciously meta about a press conference about a film about a media guru who spins at press conferences.