Clooney, Damon, Moore Talk Charlottesville at ‘Suburbicon’ Presser

George Clooney, Matt Damon and Julianne
David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock

VENICE, Italy — George Clooney’s “Suburbicon” has a timely subplot — based both on present times and a 1957 incident — about racism in white America. That subplot, however, resounded deeply during the Venice Film Festival press conference for the film, which stars Matt Damon and Julianne Moore.

“I was watching a lot of speeches on the campaign trail about building fences and scapegoating minorities and I started looking around at other times in our history when we’ve unfortunately fallen back into these things,” said Clooney, talking about how the pic germinated.

While casting around for story ideas, Clooney found a 1957 incident that happened in Levittown, Pa., in which an African-American family moved into a suburban development; however, many white residents in the area reacted with violence. Then, while looking to try to make a film out of the Levittown story, he remembered that the Coen brothers had written a script called “Suburbicon,” so those two elements were meshed together.

Of course at that stage the Charlottesville, Va., race riots had yet to happen, noted Damon, who in the film plays a bad guy who goes all the way, to an extent that he’s “never been able to do so far” in his career.

Related

Suburbicon Matt Damon

Venice Film Review: George Clooney’s ‘Suburbicon’

“When we were filming we obviously could not have predicted the race riots,” said Damon. “We weren’t literally thinking that race riots would erupt in America right before this came out. But it does speak to the fact that these issues have not, and are not, going away. So there’s an honest reckoning in our country.”

As to the character Damon plays: “It’s kind the definition of white privilege when you are riding around your neighborhood on a bike covered in blood murdering people and the African-American family [who are his neighbors] is getting blamed for it,” he said.

Clooney pointed out that the film’s very dark tone reflects the anger he sees in the U.S. today.

“If you go to our country…depending on what side of the aisle you sit on, it’s probably the angriest I’ve ever seen it,” he noted. “There’s a dark cloud hanging over our country right now.” But he added: “I’m an optimist…I believe that we will get through all these things…but people are angry; a lot of us are angry.”

The “Suburbicon” director also underlined that the film “isn’t a movie about Donald Trump. … This is a movie about our coming to terms constantly with the idea that we have never fully addressed our issues with race.”

Moore, who plays a double role in the pic, made a clear-cut a statement on the issues being raised by Charlottesville.

“We are living in the United States where people are arguing about removing Confederate monuments: They must be removed,” she said. “You simply cannot have these figures from the Civil War in town squares and in universities for our children to see. As a parent and as a citizen I need to be active in the eradication of those, in the re-education of everyone. We have to take responsibility for it.”

Clooney joined her on a similar note: “This is something that is really festering right now in the United States: Talking about the Confederate flag, and the Jefferson Davis monument,” he noted. “Now, if you want to wear it [a confederate flag] on your T-shirt or if you want to hang it on your front lawn…have at it. But to hang it on a public building where possibly African American tax payers are paying for it — and it’s a symbol of hate — that cannot stand.”

 

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 21

Leave a Reply

21 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Aunt Rosemary says:

    Shut up Clooney tool. Nobody cares what you think. Same for you Matt Damon. What a couple of circus clowns.

  2. Ted Faraone says:

    I thought that US Sen. George Murphy and President Ronald Reagan proved for all time that entertainers are NOT second class citizens. Clooney has as much right to political speech as I do. Like Murphy and Reagan Clooney plays the parts that work for him. And he does a pretty good job of it. That’s why they call it acting. For example we all know now that Rock Hudson was gay. However he played many a convincing love scene with a female actor. That’s acting. That’s not politics.

  3. mrscuba says:

    This is the reason Hollywood will sink soon and not because of crappy remakes, but because these rich me me me types with their armed guards and rich gated communities keep telling us boarders are only racist when Americans do it and only cops should own guns when they play characters that glorify guns, that racial supremacy isn’t racial supremacy until whites do it. Don’t​ keep writing these traitors checks just watch their movies online when it starts one of these narrow minded liberals.

  4. Toni says:

    Creepy movie

  5. Chris says:

    You guys need to stick to acting and not politics. No, one cares what you have to say. Thanks

  6. Barbara says:

    This article writer is an idiot.

  7. jona says:

    Meh.. When this tanks they will still be shooting their mouths off.

  8. Tom says:

    “George Clooney’s “Suburbicon” has a timely subplot — based both on present times and a 1957 incident — about racism in white America.”

    Why did the author add white there? There was no white America and non white America, there just one America. One nation, one people.

    Stop trying to divide us.

  9. Archimedes says:

    Americans! you will never unite if you call the other side such names as “sanctimonious elitist Hollywood liberals” or “Triggered Trumptards”. you must behave as adults. namecalling is ok for kids. you are supposed to be adults and the citizens of the “greatest country on Earth”. so pls act like it.

  10. Odd — Clooney, Damon, and Moore had NO PROBLEM with Confederate monuments and the Confederate flag when Obama was president, but now they want them gone because they’re “symbols of hate”. I wonder why.

  11. Drew says:

    I’m so sick of these sanctimonious, elitist Hollywood liberals who make millions doing what exactly…? Make movies? And yet they feel compelled and entitled to educate the rest of us on “white privilege” (what a catchy buzz word today) and race relations in America. They can make a film they feel good about that ultimately will be forgotten and then retreat back to their mansion in CA or villa in Italy. You represent the very reason Trump was elected you arrogant, misinformed clowns.

    • Frank says:

      Agree with drew and cousin ed.
      Also,clue knee jerk repeats the fake news; he’s too arrogant to take the time to read the real news …
      too lazy too much work like all the reporters too much work. It’s easier to stand in front of a camera and look pretty.
      Thanks geo, at least you got the right.

    • Anthony Costine says:

      Drew’s comment is a perfect example of why the U.S. is such a hateful place these days. So many people (like Drew) just seethe with anger at successful and articulate artists. Oh well, maybe Drew will be successful at something some day…..

      • Drew is pointing out Clooney’s/Hollywood’s hypocrisy: They clamor for “open borders” and “gun control” while they live behind gated mansions and have 24/7 armed security; they talk about forgiving 3rd world debt while they stash their millions in off-shore accounts; they call themselves stewards of the environment while they tool around in Hummers and fly in private jets. The only one here who is seething with anger is you.

  12. Me says:

    ‪There’s no Trump Collusion with anyone but plenty between Clooney & people working against us

  13. Ted Faraone says:

    Even if the negative racial context of the Confederate battle flag (Stars & Bars) or the monuments to Confederate leaders did not exist they continue to honor treason against the United States. The Confederates, American citizens all, took up arms against the American Union. For political reasons (a speedy reconstruction of the nation after Appomattox, they were not hanged. That should be sufficient for them.

  14. Sir Farty Fartsalot says:

    LOL, dope. But go ahead & respond by regurgitating more horse pucky that your precious orange snowflake has said.

  15. Anthony Costine says:

    Frank, I am hugely impressed by your grasp of current affairs, your uncanny ability to mimic your hero’s favorite phrase (“fake news”), and your superb use of the English language as evidenced by your ending a sentence with a preposition. There’s certainly a job for you in the Whitehouse.

More Film News from Variety

Loading