The Venice Film Festival begins tomorrow. TIFF kicks off a week Thursday. I’ve started seeing some of the films and Sarah’s coming to Toronto too and we’re working out her screening schedule right now so let us know what you think she should put on her list. What will definitely be on her list is George Clooney’s Suburbicon which will premiere in Venice first before it heads to Toronto as part of TIFF’s marquee weekend, one of the strongest weekends we’ve seen at TIFF in years.
Ahead of his appearance in Venice, George spoke to USA Today about Suburbicon, why it’s a film for these times, and the first early months of fatherhood. Let’s start with the film. He screened it for his friend Norman Lear recently. And Norman told him that, “This is the angriest film I’ve ever seen”. Evidently this aggression is intentional. George confirms:
“The main idea of the film was to pick some fights and I always like picking fights.”
Who’s he fighting? What is he fighting? Well, you could point to one person, someone George says is “in over his head and incapable”. But also a certain kind of attitude. Suburbicon stars Matt Damon and Julianne Moore in a story about “rampant suburban paranoia and fear-mongering after a home invasion”:
For Clooney and his writing-producing partner Grant Heslov, the Coens' characters were perfect for plans of their own to dramatize 1950s Levittown, Pennsylvania, and specifically the enclave's response in 1957 to a black family moving in. It's a tale, they believe, that mirrors today's political landscape.
"I found it interesting to talk about building walls and scapegoating minorities," said Clooney. "I think that's always an interesting topic but particularly when I was hearing these conversations on the campaign trail. I thought: It's always good to look back and remember that nothing really is new and every time we're shocked, we forget that we've had this behavior time and time and time again."
Last week it was confirmed that George and Amal established a $1 million grant through their foundation to the Southern Poverty Law Centre “to combat racism”. So he’s confronting the issues through his art and also with his bank account. And he’s about to start promoting all of it at two major film festivals where, if his previous visits are anything to go by, he’ll be available and outspoken, especially if he’s this angry and this interested in a fight. Everyone’s going to want to be at that George Clooney presser and on his carpet. Where he’ll be wearing his tux…with the puke cleaned off.
"I just have to clean the barf off of my tux," says Clooney. "It used to be my barf but now it's the twins' barf. So it all works out."
George used to stay out late when he came to TIFF. He’d hold down the party until well after 2am. There were some nights I’d be at the same party, ready to go, and he’d still have a full tumbler in his hand. Am curious to see if he and Amal leave the kids at home so they can let loose for a few days in Toronto.
Click here to read George’s full interview with USA Today.
Attached - George and Amal out for dinner in Italy last week.