“I don’t want to go show this to Washington. I don’t want them to be taking notes,” says George Clooney of his film The Ides of March.
His film, indeed. Clooney cowrote, coproduced, directed and stars in a political thriller about the relationship between a seasoned presidential candidate, who is not above stooping to dirty tricks on the campaign trail, and his idealistic young press secretary (played by Ryan Gosling).
Because he is a lifelong Democrat, Clooney chose to make his candidate a Democrat, so the candidate’s flaws would be those of a Democrat. “I suppose, if you’re a Democrat, you’ll like the beginning of the movie best, and if you’re a Republican, you’ll like the end best,” Clooney says. “It walks that line of picking on everybody. If it’s a political movie, it’s a political movie without pressing a specific agenda, and that was what was important to us.”
Production of the film was set to begin in 2008 until, fittingly enough, politics intervened. “Obama was elected and there was such hope; everyone was so happy,” Clooney says. “People were too optimistic for such a cynical film! About a year later, everybody got cynical again and we thought we could make this film.”
The film centers on Gosling’s character, Stephen Meyers. Meyers, who joined Gov. Morris’ campaign with the noblest of intentions, sees the candidate he believed was above dirty tricks stoop to anything to be elected. But does the end justify the means?
Gosling says he came onboard because he wanted a chance to work with Clooney. “Our characters are all here because we believe in Morris,” Gosling says. “I think that all of us as actors are here because we believe in George and we believe in his campaign, which is this film.”
It was a good choice on Gosling’s part because critics apparently believe in the film as well. It’s been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards: Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director and, for Gosling, Best Actor.
“The Ides of March” is available starting Jan. 17 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
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