In Cannes, Clooney vows Donald Trump won’t be president

Director Jodie Foster, actors Julia Roberts and George Clooney are seen departing after the "Money Monster" premiere during the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 12, 2016 in Cannes, France.
Director Jodie Foster, actors Julia Roberts and George Clooney are seen departing after the "Money Monster" premiere during the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 12, 2016 in Cannes, France. Getty Images

George Clooney has vowed that Donald Trump will not be elected president, promising that “fear is not going to be something that drives” the United States.

Clooney spoke to reporters Thursday at the Cannes Film Festival where he stars in Jodie Foster’s hostage thriller “Money Monster.” Clooney, a prominent fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, insisted that Trump will not win.

“There’s not going to be a President Donald Trump,” Clooney said. “That’s not going to happen. Fear is not going to be something that drives our country. We’re not going to be scared of Muslims or immigrants or women. We’re not actually afraid of anything.”

Clooney and his wife, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney (who joined him on the Cannes red carpet for the premiere of “Money Monster”), last month hosted a pair of events in Los Angeles and San Francisco that raised millions for Clinton.

The actor said that Trump is the product of the collision of news and entertainment depicted in “Money Monster.” In it, Clooney plays a Jim Cramer-like financial guru taken hostage live on the air by a distraught investor (Jack O'Connell). Julia Roberts co-stars as the program’s producer.

“Trump is actually a result in many ways of the fact that much of the news programs didn’t follow up and ask tough questions,” said Clooney.

“Twenty-four-hour news doesn’t mean you get more news, it means you get the same news more,” he continued. “More and more and more you hear these guys, their ratings go up because they can show an empty podium saying ‘Donald Trump is about to speak,' as opposed to taking those 30 seconds and saying, ‘Well, let’s talk about refugees,' which is the biggest crisis going on in the world right now.”

For the 55-year-old Clooney, television news has been a lifelong theme. His father, Nick Clooney, was a journalist and distinguished local news anchor. Clooney’s second film as a director was 2005’s “Good Night, and Good Luck,” his black-and-white Edward R. Murrow drama about the halcyon days of television news. As an actor in Steven Soderbergh’s “Out of Sight,” he also memorably riffed on “Network,” the Sidney Lumet-Paddy Chayefsky classic of ratings-obsessed broadcast news.

“ ‘Money Monster' talks about the evolution of what has become the cross between news and entertainment. And I think that’s been a big problem. ‘Network' started it,” said Clooney. “Everything that Paddy Chayefsky wrote in 1975 came true.”

“Money Monster,” Foster’s fourth film as a director, debuted in Cannes on Thursday ahead of its North American release on Friday. Critics greeted it with lukewarm reviews, though the film has drawn praise for being a rare commodity: an adult thriller with some meaning.

“This movie is talking about one of the things that I think is a great disaster in the way we inform ourselves right now,” said Clooney. “We’ve lost the ability to get to and tell the truth and get to the facts.”

4 things to know

Since 1998, movies editor Charles Ealy has been going to Cannes Film Festival. Below he offers his four things you might not know about this year's festival.

1. Kristen Stewart is far more highly regarded as an actress in Europe than she is in the United States. Part of the U.S. reaction to her abilities probably has something to do with her being the star of the "Twlight" movies, which aren't exactly art-house fare.

But since she rose to fame in the "Twilight" films, she has been making interesting -- and smart -- choices with her career. She's carefully picking her roles and making sure that she's working with a well-regarded director.

This year in Cannes she'll be starring in two movies that are part of the official selection: Woody Allen's opening-night film, "Cafe Society," and French director Olivier Assayas' "Personal Shopper," the latter of which is in competition for the Palme d'Or.

Interestingly, Stewart starred in Assayas' last movie, "Clouds of Sils Maria," which played in the Cannes competition, and Stewart went on to win the French Cesar Award for best supporting actress for her role as Juliette Binoche's personal assistant. She was also in Walter Salles' "On the Road," which screened in the 2012 Cannes competition.

She's set to star in Ang Lee's "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk," which is based on the novel by Dallas author Ben Fountain and is scheduled to be released this winter. "Walk" is already getting raves from early screenings for its technological achievements, FYI, and is expected to be a player during this year's awards season.

2. When someone writes or tells you that a movie played in Cannes, you need to know that such a phrase means little or nothing. It's all about where it played in Cannes.

If it's part of the official selection, that's a big deal. If it's in the competition for the Palme d'Or, that's the biggest deal possible. If it's in one of the official sidebars, like Directors' Fortnight or Critics Week, that's also a big deal.

It means very little if a movie is playing in the Market -- the simultaneous event that takes place in the caverns of the Palais. Anybody can screen anything there, as long as they're willing to pay. And if someone has a movie showing in the Short Film Corner, it simply means that they're spending their own money to network and show a short in the basement of the Palais, where various booths are set up for folks to network.

Such screenings are NOT curated, and being in the Short Film Corner isn't a sign of artistic achievement in any stretch of the imagination, unless you think that the trend of "everybody gets a trophy" is actually worthwhile.

3. Americans are going to be getting far more attention in Cannes this year than they have in some previous years, at least if you're looking at the official selection.

The movies are: Woody Allen's "Cafe Society," Jeff Nichols' "Loving," Sean Penn's "The Last Face," Jim Jarmusch's "Paterson," Michael O'Shea's "The Transfiguration," Matt Ross' "Captain Fantastic," Shane Black's "The Nice Guys," Jodie Foster's "Money Monster," Steven Spielberg's "The BFG," Jonathan Littell's "Wrong Elements," Jarmusch's "Gimme Danger," and a special tribute to Robert De Niro with a screening of "Hands of Stone," directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz, a longtime friend of Austin's Robert Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellan and a former student at the Radio Television Film Department at the University of Texas.

4. Cannes always has some wild movies in the competition. This year, the wildest promises to be Nicoloas Winding Refn's "The Neon Demon," which the Danish director filmed in L.A. It's about cannibalism and supermodels. Refn is hit-or-miss at Cannes. His movie "Drive," starring Ryan Gosling, was a hit when it played at Cannes in 2011; but in 2013, "Only God Forgives" fell flat with most critics.

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