George Clooney, star of new film The Ides of March, thinks Democrats could learn something from Hollywood, but has no plans to run for office to prove it.
At a Los Angeles screening, Clooney's new political thriller, the actor divulged that while most Democrats have accomplished a great deal for the U.S., they've done a terrible job selling that point to mainstream America.
[Democrats] are the worst at explaining what it is they do, Clooney said. Republicans laugh at Democrats at how bad they are at selling what their guy does.
Conservatives, on the other hand, have their message down. Republicans can sell the shit out of it. They're good at it, he said. Hollywood could teach a lot to politicians about how to sell, which they don't do very well at all.
Clooney would certainly know about good salesmanship. The actor, whose career took off when most middle-aged men hit crisis mode, not only starred in Ides but also co-wrote, produced, and directed the film, which looks to be a critical and commercial success.
Clooney's role in Ides is Governor Mike Morris, a smooth-talking but upright politician heading into the Ohio Democratic presidential primary.
Based loosely on Beau Willimon's play Farragut North, Ides of March is inspired by the 2004 Howard Dean campaign, itself a victim of bad showmanship. It focuses on the triangle of loyalty, ambition, and betrayal between Clooney's Morris, Ryan Gosling's press secretary Stephen Myers, and Paul Giamatti's opposing campaign manager Tom Duffy, although senators, reporters, and interns are thrown in the mix, too. Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Evan Rachel Wood co-star as Morris' campaign manager and intern, respectively.
Clooney has never been shy about expressing his political opinions. The Oscar-winning actor has vocally supported Democrats in the past, and knows President Barack Obama personally. With so much advice to give politicians on how to be actors, many have wondered if the actor will ever play politician.
Clooney, however, insists he won't pull a Ronald Reagan anytime soon. I didn't live my life the right way for politics, he told Newsweek earlier this year.
A brush with his father's political campaign for Kentucky's 4th Congressional District put him off the stump circuit early on. He saw first-hand how much people can put into a race, and how much they can lose. I'm not good at the kind of compromises that you have to make to get elected, Clooney said at the Ides of March premiere in New York.
Nonetheless, Clooney can't help but offer some more constructive advice to fellow Democrats. The trick, as he told The Huffington Post, is to know how to move people into voting, just as Hollywood knows how to get them moving into theaters. His tip? Meet with Harvey Weinstein.