For over 17 years, George Clooney has had a presence as an actor on our screens, first on television and then in movies. Although his first crack at directing with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind in 2002 didn’t get too much attention, it was with his next movie, Good Night, And Good Luck, that Clooney proved himself as a filmmaker to reckon with after it was nominated for six Academy Awards three years later.
For The Ides of March, Clooney’s fourth movie as a director, he returns to politics, adapting Beau Willimon’s play “Farragut North” with his long-time writing and producing partner Grant Heslov, turning it into a tense political thriller set amidst the world of campaigning.
Taking place during the Democratic Presidential Primary in Ohio, Clooney plays Governor Morris, the underdog candidate in the election, but the story is focused more on Ryan Gosling’s Stephen Meyers, Morris’ press secretary who is getting sucked into the dirtier side of politics when he sleeps with campaign intern Molly Stearns, played by Evan Rachel Wood, and learns she’s keeping a secret that could derail Morris’ campaign. Meanwhile, the competition’s campaign manager Tom Duffy, played by Paul Giamatti, wants Stephen to work for him, but a late-night meeting between them could get Stephen into trouble with his friend and mentor, Morris’ own campaign manager played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. The political maneuverings are rounded out by Jeffrey Wright as the mysterious Senator Thompson from North Carolina whose very endorsement can make all the difference for which candidate wins the primary.
ComingSoon.net spoke to Ryan Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood, Paul Giamatti and Jeffrey Wright last month in Toronto when the film was premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, and they answered our questions about whether or not they knew the play, their preparation for their respective roles and what Clooney brought to the table as a director that they hadn’t gotten from their previous collective experiences.
The Ides of March opens on Friday, October 7.