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George Clooney speaks at The Ides of March press conference in London
Matthew Jenkin reports from The Ides of March press conference at the 55th BFI London Film Festival.
GEORGE Clooney got all political this week at a press conference for new film The Ides of March, in which he plays a candidate running in a US presidential primary race.
The star was in town for the premiere of the movie at the 55th BFI London Film Festival on Wednesday night and earlier revealed at a press conference that his own involvement in politics had made him "very unpopular".
The 50-year-old heartthrob said: "I grew up in a time when most people had a social and political conscience."
"Some of the biggest changes in our country's history happened when I was growing up, so I was raised to participate and I will continue to do that."
However, despite his political convictions and involvement in international causes, unlike other Hollywood actors, he said he had no desire to run for office.
"I have a very comfortable existence," he told reporters.
"I am able to dip my toe into issues involved in politics, like in Sudan or Darfur. Where I can have some involvement then I'm happy to do it and I don't have to compromise as a politician."
Clooney also spoke of how his father's own campaign to run for office inspired scenes in the soon to be released movie.
He said: “There are hands that you have to shake that you wouldn’t normally shake and it’s unfortunate but that’s the way it is.
"You can’t finance your own unless you’re independently wealthy, which my father isn’t, which is even the case in a small congressional district in Kentucky could cost you a couple million dollars to run so you end up having to make deals you normally wouldn’t find as attractive. So there were plenty of scenes about that.”
The Ides of March also stars Ryan Gosling as Morris's press spokesman and Philip Seymour Hoffman as his seasoned campaign manager.
The story sees Morris and his team become embroiled in a sex scandal and dirty tricks as the campaign trail reaches a crucial stage.
Clooney feels the film is a fair reflection of real life.
“I do know that there are certainly deals made all the time for cabinet posts, I know that for sure. We also know that scandal is not uncommon," Clooney said.
"But I think it reflects things that are pretty timeless and not necessarily restricted to government.
“But, right now in the United States, 95 per cent of the people who win elections have the most money, that’s it. So money is a big part of elections right now.”
Surprisingly Clooney's biggest challange in playing a politician was the size of their egos.
“Playing a candidate is tricky because you would think that actors have gigantic ego’s, and they do, but politicians have a tremendous amount of ego,” he bemoaned.
“It’s very hard when the product your selling to entire country is yourself and your just selling the hell out of it, all the time. Ego was something that was really tricky to embrace; these guys really are saying ‘I’m the best’.”
His thoughts were echoed by Hoffman, who also spoke at the conference of the difficulties in playing such self-assured characters.
“It was hard," he said. "Paul Giamatti and I were talking about that, and how it was the only thing that I couldn’t bear about the character – that he was in the public eye all the time, because that’s something that I don’t feel comfortable with at all.
“I just don’t understand why someone would want to thrust themselves into the public eye every day.”
Watch The Ides of March (15) at the 55th London Film Festival tomorrow at 12.15pm. It is released in cinemas on October 28.
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