In an interview with The Daily Beast to promote his latest film Suburbicon, Oscar award-winning actor George Clooney criticised both candidates in the past US election, praised comedians like Colbert and Kimmel, and completely destroyed Trump’s rhetoric.
Oh, and he also told the president to go f*** himself.
Aside from his critically acclaimed film career, Clooney is also known for some hardcore activism. For years he’s pushed hard to unveil the atrocities committed by the government of Sudan on its own people, partnering with a satellite provider to track military movement from space and prodding both the Obama administration and the UN to put pressure on international banks and corporations that have willingly or unwillingly streamed funds to Omar al-Bashir’s bloody regime.
Suburbicon, starring Matt Damon, Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac, deals with the torrid affairs of a white family in an American suburb in the late ’50s. While they indulge in a number of hideous crimes, the community is fixated on bullying a young black couple across the street, the fist middle-class black family to land in their suburban ‘hood.
The film, directed by Clooney and co-written by the Cohen Brothers, premiered at the recent Venice Film Festival with good reviews. In light of the recent racial confrontations in Charlottesville and Trump’s divisive discourse, Clooney’s film acquires a singular timely resonance.
When asked about the parallels between the movie and the current political turmoil Clooney said;
“Here’s the interesting thing about this: films never lead the charge. They’re usually reflective of a point in time. So what we were talking about when we started to do this was less about black and white, although that’s something that unfortunately always comes up, and more about the idea of how I was watching a candidate on the campaign trail [Trump] talking about building fences, scapegoating minorities, and branding Mexicans, Muslims, or anyone who didn’t look like a seventy-year-old white guy ‘the enemy.’”
When asked about Charlottesville and the controversy around the confederate flag, Clooney went on to point out that he was raised in Kentucky and brought up in an environment where the symbol is ever present in daily life.
“I remember these guys would come into town and we’d do these Civil War reenactments, and you could choose whichever side you wanted. They’d bring you uniforms and guns with blanks in it, and you could play either a Rebel or Union soldier, and we’d do battle all around town. We all wanted to be Rebels because it was fun—everybody wants to be a “rebel”—and we never thought twice about the Confederate flag; it never even dawned on me that that was a symbol of hate. And also, I was pretty young and wasn’t paying enough attention,” he said.
“But as you get older you see that this was only a symbol of hate, and you remember that the Confederate flag was designed to be marched into battle against the United States of America in favour of racism, and they lost. It’s important to remember all these things. It’s literally a symbol of hate that was designed as a symbol of hate.
“So OK, you can wear it on a T-shirt or a hat because that’s freedom of speech and you can do whatever you want. I don’t give a shit. Those are the rules we’ve made as the United States, and I believe in them. But to have the Confederate flag on a statehouse paid for by African-American taxpayers? No fuckin’ way! That would be like going to the Holocaust Museum and saying that they have to pay for a Nazi flag hanging over it. It’s just ridiculous.”
Clooney had also some fierce words about Trump’s constant cultural war, in which he’s discredited every opposing media outlet and attempted to create imaginary divides among the general public. One of his favourite agendas is to split the country between “middle America” and the “coastal elites” which Clooney called ridiculous.
“I grew up in Kentucky. I sold insurance door-to-door. I sold ladies’ shoes. I worked at an all-night liquor store. I would buy suits that were too big and too long and cut the bottom of the pants off to make ties so I’d have a tie to go on job interviews. I grew up understanding what it was like to not have health insurance for eight years,” Clooney said. “So this idea that I’m somehow the “Hollywood elite” and this guy who takes a shit in a gold toilet is somehow the man of the people is laughable.
“When you direct a film you have seven different unions all wanting different things, you have to find consensus with all of them, and you have to get them moving in the same direction. He’s never had to do any of that kind of stuff. I just look at it and I laugh when I see him say “Hollywood elite.” Hollywood elite? I don’t have a star on Hollywood Boulevard, Donald Trump has a star on Hollywood Boulevard! Fuck you!”
The in-depth interview also tackles the importance of satire, Hillary Clinton’s performance in the election, gives some heavy hits to Steve Bannon and also reveals more details of Suburbicon. We strongly encourage you read it in its entirety.