George Clooney’s ‘Ides’

Clooney has two films out this fall, starting with 
‘Ides of March.’

By Lori Hoffman

Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Oct. 5, 2011

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‘The Ides of March’

ATLANTIC CITY — George Clooney batted .500 at the Toronto International Film Festival. The Ides of March was disappointing, but The Descendants, written and directed by Alexander Payne (and due for release Nov. 18), is a superb drama with comic accents that explores a family in crisis that manages to reconnect.

I’ll present his thoughts on that film closer to its release, but Clooney also talked about his career in general during a Toronto Film Fest press conference. In talking about directing himself, he noted, “Directing myself, I was doing a part that I knew exactly what I needed. I was filling a gap. I certainly fit the bill [as the type of actor needed] for the role.”

When talking about earning awards for his work, Clooney says, “I find that it’s very odd to think of competition when it’s something I still consider art. I don’t really think of it as competing with actors or filmmakers at all. You do compete in a way at the box office but these two films are far enough apart [in release dates] so I’m not concerned with that either. We want both films to be well liked. We try to make films that we would like to see. They are not easy to get made. You have to keep the budget low to get them made.”

Clooney got his start in television in both bad shows and good, and he still appreciates those years that prepared him for latter success: “I was on some crappy TV shows and I was pretty bad in them. But you always think of yourself as a film actor, you just happen to be doing this crappy TV show. There is a period of time where you are just trying to get a job and then you get lucky. ER was lucky. They talk about [good ratings], these days it’s 17 million; we were doing 42, 45 million per episode. Immediately, I went from obscurity to being able to get a film. Before, I auditioned a lot and didn’t get them. I was the same actor as when I did Bodies of Evidence when I was reading for two lines in a film.

“Then things change and you realize you have to take responsibility because your name is above the title. When I realized that, I had a pretty good run with Out of Sight and Three Kings and Brother, Where Art Thou? I get it now. I need to work with great filmmakers and great screenplays.”

Beware These ‘Ides’

The West Wing, with its sharp writing and brilliant acting spoiled us when it comes to politically themed entertainment. Take for example George Clooney’s directorial effort, the political pseudo thriller The Ides of March, which made its North American debut at the Toronto International Film Festival and opens this Friday, Oct. 7, locally. It features a fine cast, but the cliché-ridden screenplay pales in comparison to even a so-so episode of The West Wing. Even the political intrigue of the summer AMC series The Killing was also superior to Clooney’s film, which he wrote with his writing partner Grant Heslov, based on the play Farragut North by Beau Willimon

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