As George Clooney's film The Ides of March hits the screens, Time Out spoke to the two leads Ryan Gosling and George Clooney about film making, power, politics and celebrity, all of which are so terrifically intertwined. And, of course we ask for their opinions about each other.
Describe George Clooney as a director
Well, he’s very specific and he knows exactly what he wants. There isn’t a lot of ambiguity in his decisions.
Did you ask him why he chose you to star?
He said he chose me because everyone else said no! But that’s fine with me.
How different is it to be directed by a director who is also an actor?
It didn’t feel that different. When he was directing, he was able to compartmentalise to a degree, which was interesting. But he was doing so much: he co-wrote it, directed it, produced it, and starred in it. At the same time he is checking the situation in Darfur on his cell phones. And he has 20, at least 10 practical jokes in the works at all times. Multitasking, you know!
He is famous for playing pranks. How did you deal with it?
You have to be on the alert all the time.
Did he get you?
Yes, he did.
Did you get him back?
No. It’s impossible.
What does the film poster represent for you? Those two faces, yours and George’s characters kind of blending... maybe it means that in the end, it doesn’t really matter who is the president?
No, it says that George Clooney is trying to show how much better looking he is!
Do you trust the press?
How different is it to play a silent character as you did in recent action film Drive, compared with The Ides of March where you have so much dialogue?
They were different experiences and each offered something different. I feel there is something nice about not talking. Like you can say more by actually saying less. It’s nice to have space in the film and it’s much rarer to be able to work that way.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on The Gangster Squad, a ’50s gangster picture with Sean Penn, who is playing the mobster, Mickey Cohen, Josh Brolin and Emma Stone. A great cast.
You seemed to have been working non-stop. You are everywhere, the ‘it boy’ of the moment. How has your life changed with all that attention?
I’m pretty sick of myself! It seemed a pretty good idea at the time. Around the time I turned 30, I started to feel very creative, more creative than I had been before, which is good, and I like that.
Brad Pitt recently said that you have the most interesting career...
No he did not! That’s the first time I’ve heard that! It’s such a compliment to have someone you’ve been admiring and following for years appreciate you. Some of Brad’s movies are what got me excited about making films, you know?
How different is the pleasure of acting for you today compared to when you started?
I used to have a whole list of guys I wanted to work with, but I’m at the point where I want to work with the same ones. I’ve been really lucky between Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) and Nicholas Winding Refn (Drive). I just finished another film with Derek called Beyond the Pines and it was the best experience of my life. It’s very different from Blue Valentine. Bradley Cooper, people are not going to believe how great he is, and Eva Mendes, hers is the best acting performance I’ve been around to see.
You recorded an album two years ago with your band Dead Man’s Bones. What are your tastes in music?
I grew up listening to a lot of music from the ’50s and ’60s: Buddy Holly, Del Shannon, The Shangri Las… It gave me a taste for that style. And I still listen to those a lot.
Finally – what car are you driving?
Oh, I’m driving my car from Drive!