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George Clooney on ‘Suburbicon,’ Charlottesville and Why Celebrities Shouldn’t Run for President

If George Clooney ever decides to run for president, he wouldn’t get Julianne Moore’s vote. “I don’t think actors should be president,” Moore told Variety at the Toronto International Film Festival. “I’m sorry, George.”

Clooney wasn’t hurt. In fact, he stressed — once again — that he has no political aspirations. “I think that having a celebrity as president who has a star on Hollywood Boulevard will exorcise our need to have someone famous in office,” Clooney said about Donald Trump. “And maybe we’ll find someone who knows how to make policy.”

Clooney was in Canada with the premiere of “Suburbicon,” a Paramount Pictures release that he directed, produced and co-wrote. The drama is adapted from an old script written by the Coen brothers about a 1950s family (played by Matt Damon and Moore) victimized by a brutal robbery. Clooney and his producing partner Grant Heslov updated the story by adding a second plot, about a black family experiencing racism from their violent white neighbors.

In Toronto, Clooney and Moore stopped by the Variety Studio Presented by AT&T to talk about the film and other topics ranging from Charlottesville to tabloid culture. Here are some highlights.

On expanding the Coen brothers’ script with a new story line: “I’d been hearing a lot of things on the campaign trail about scapegoating Mexicans and Muslims,” Clooney said. “I was looking back at times in our country when we did this. I found a time in Levittown, Pennsylvania, where it happened with an African American family.”

On Charlottesville: “These are moments when we are supposed to come together,” Clooney said. “You can’t compare Black Lives Matter, who are protesting in support of racial equality, to the KKK and the alt-right, who are protesting in support of racial supremacy. You cannot balance those two — period. To see that happen at the highest level in our country was very disappointing and gutting for a lot of us.”

On the need for more diverse stories: “I think we need to reflect the world we see,” Moore said. “I just ran into Melissa Leo, and I saw a movie she was in, and it was all women. I realized how unusual it was. That reflects the world I see, but often don’t see depicted in film. I think the more we are able to include our real world in our entertainment, the better off we’ll be.”

On who should play 007: “I think Idris Elba should be the next James Bond,” Clooney said. “I think it’s insane that you wouldn’t. He’s elegant and handsome and masculine. He would be a perfect James Bond and it would be a great step forward.”

On the sluggish summer box office: “I think the panic is a little premature,” Clooney said. “I think everybody is going to be fine. I think it would be nice if [the movie industry] upped their game.”

On being changed by fatherhood: “Well, it’s a funny thing,” Clooney said. “In general when you talk to somebody who is in the film industry, we can impart some unique experiences. Me talking about being a parent, everyone I know goes through it. And they are all the exact same experiences. It’s [being] up all night at weird hours. It’s changing diapers. It’s being shocked at what you see inside a diaper for the amount they take in and the amount they put out; you go, ‘How is that possible?’”

On his friendship with Obama: “We have some funny texts,” Clooney said. “He came over to the house and shot some basketball.”

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