RE: "Good Night, And Good Luck"
Fri Feb 17, 2006 23:21

RE: "Good Night, And Good Luck" most valuable movie of the year

SOS SOS SOS DE APFN.ORG SOS SOS SOS - Larry King Live - Feb 16
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February 16, 2006
• Interview With George Clooney
"Good Night, And Good Luck"

KING: I remember Ed Murrow. I remember McCarthy and that whole scene. Did you do that because of your political leanings?

CLOONEY: Sure in some way, not necessarily because of my political leanings. I grew up the son of a journalist, you know. I did it also because it's a point in history that I'm most proud of is our -- I think there are two great moments in broadcast journalism, Murrow taking on McCarthy and Cronkite coming home from Vietnam and saying "This was doesn't work." Those are two points that you can actually point directly to and say they had an effect on American policy and I thought it was an interesting time.

Listen, I was -- it was a time where any sort of dissent was -- you were labeled. I was put on the cover of a magazine and called a traitor and that's fair enough. If I'm going to say we should ask some questions, then, you know, then along the way you can't say but don't, you know, if I'm demanding freedom of speech I can't say but don't say bad things about me.

KING: Do you find it directly relates to today?

CLOONEY: Sure I think it does. Listen, when you hear Murrow saying "We mustn't confuse dissent with disloyalty and we should lead not only in the area of bombs but in the area of ideas" and when he says "We can't defend freedom abroad by disserting it at home," I think those have a lot to do with things that are going on today.

And I thought -- what's important to me about the film was it reminds us that these things are cyclical and that fear often at the end of the day are the reasons that we erode away civil liberties for very brief periods of time and then we come to our senses and fix them.

KING: What do you make of tapping phones?

CLOONEY: It's a -- I think it's a dangerous step especially when you look at the FISA law and you say well the whole idea of it, in fact the things that were changed in it, in the Patriot Act, which were fairly recent said that you could retroactively get a warrant 72 hours afterward.

So, to me it doesn't seem like there's really all that much of a reason to decide that you can do warrantless taps. I worry about those things. When you say "trust us," governments unchecked have never, ever not corrupted ever in the history of the world, so "trust us" is a dangerous place to go. That's what our country's founded on.

KING: Do you feel it could get worse?

CLOONEY: Do you think it could get worse? We didn't think it was so bad until we found out we were spying on Martin Luther King, you know. I think we were surprised by that with the Freedom of Information Act when we find out all these things that we were doing. Can it get worse? Will it get worse? Of course it can because fear is sort of an amazing motivator.

KING: You realize that when you take on the things you take on or speak out that it doesn't do you any good professionally.

CLOONEY: Sure. You know you got to remember this. I'm not holding press conferences. I'm not standing up saying OK this is what you should think. I mean really I'm not. I'll answer a question, you know. I sit here with you and I'll answer a question. Now should I not say what I believe or say what I think?

KING: Many would not.

CLOONEY: But many would and I think the truth is and the secret to this is in a way of trying to not be polarizing and I find that people on the left and right are -- it's an incredibly polarized time.

In general we're trying to find things that we can agree on and one of them for me is we have to agree on the idea that we're allowed to question authority. We have to agree on the idea that that's not unpatriotic and I think most people do, you know.

KING: How did you react though when even a spokesman for the White House criticized people for speaking out and endangering our war effort?

CLOONEY: Oh, endangering the war effort I know. Well that's, you know, it's a double-edged sword. I mean I would be ashamed if I 20 years from now wasn't standing on what I think will probably be partially the right side of history.

Certainly we weren't wrong about the idea that there was no ties to al Qaeda before we went into Iraq and there were no ties to, you know, Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. We weren't wrong about those. My job isn't to stand up and say hey we were right. My feeling is when asked to say let's ask questions.

KING: Our guest is George Clooney, nominated in three categories, best director and best original screenplay for "Good Night and Good Luck," and best supporting actor for "Syriana." Right back, don't go away.


CLOONEY: We are going with a story that says that the U.S. Air Force tried Milo Radulovich without one shred of evidence and found him guilty of being a security risk without his constitutional rights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You who also have not seen the evidence are claiming he's not a security risk. Wouldn't you guess that the people who have seen the contents of that envelope might...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...have a better idea of what makes someone a danger to his country or do you think it should just be you that decides?

CLOONEY: Who? Who are these people sir? Who are the people?



(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLOONEY: I punched in Prince Nasir Al-Subai (ph) and my computer gets seized. Now where did that job come from? Where did the Nasir job come from?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm advising you to drop it.

CLOONEY: Why am I being investigated? Why am I being investigated Fred?



KING: We're back with George Clooney, nominated in three categories and hope you win.

CLOONEY: Well, I'll tell you...

KING: What if you win all three?

CLOONEY: I don't think that's going to happen. I'll tell you I don't think it's going to happen. You know the truth is right now is sort of a great time because you go a film that you sat down and wrote is nominated for six Academy Awards and the other film that you produced is nominated for two but we're not going to win six and two so right now is really a good period of time.


CLOONEY: Exactly in between. Afterwards it's all you know.

KING: I'm going to move back to politics and other things in a little while. I want to get to other areas. By the way, do you think when people say Hollywood's out of touch with ordinary Americans they have a point?

CLOONEY: I seriously doubt it. I mean you know people were talking about this year and how there's so many politically motivated films and isn't that sort of out of touch with the mainstream?

And I think that it's exactly the opposite. I think that when we had politically motivated films the last time, the mid-'60s to the mid-'70s, from "Network" to "All the President's Men," "Dr. Strangelove" and all of those things, there was a million things going on in society that we were paying attention to.

We cared about the civil rights movement, the women's rights movement and the drug counter culture, sexual revolution, the Vietnam War and we were talking about those things. Then after Watergate we seemed to not talk about them for quite some time at home or at dinner and films reflected that.

I think now films are reflecting the exact same thing that goes on in society today which is for the first time since then people are sitting at restaurants and having conversations about their concerns or their beliefs in the political system and I think that films reflect that.

We're not good first responder films. We have to write a script after things happen. We have to direct it. We have to shoot it. We have to edit it and release it. So, in general we tend to be, you know, is there a liberal bend, sure. I don't make any apologies about that. I'm a liberal, you know. I believe in it.

KING: Is that what you are?

CLOONEY: Exactly. Well, listen people whisper that. They whisper it like you'd whisper Nazi now, you know. You'll go, yes you know I'm a liberal. I'm confused when that became a bad word, you know. Liberals thought (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: Well why is it a bad word. Liberals basically there's Social Security, Medicare, most Americans kind of favor those things.

CLOONEY: No, I know. It's interesting. I think what happened over a period of time probably in the late '80s when it became sort of a political tool to say, I mean liberals say they're not liberals, you know. Liberal Democrats say they're not liberals. I am not a liberal. Of course you're a liberal meaning that a great many of these people, the liberal movement morally, you know, has stood on the right side of an awful lot of issues.

We thought that black should be allowed to sit at the front of the bus and women should be able to vote, McCarthy was wrong, Vietnam was a mistake. You know we haven't been always wrong.

KING: How did you get in trouble with O'Reilly?

CLOONEY: He started it. He started it. I mean it's that simple. I was doing a telethon for 9/11. He wanted to do an interview for it and I was putting together the interviews that we were going to do and the networks said everybody gets one. He said "I'm the news man for FOX" and I said "No, you're not."

And then the month after that he claimed that the thing was a fraud and people canceled checks because of that and my job was to defend the people who showed up and put their name on something because they wanted to do something good.

And he said I said it was a ratings thing that he was doing because he tried to get everyone to come on his show and he said "There's no such thing as sweeps in cable." It was the same week he ran an ad that said "Bill O'Reilly beats Larry King for the first time." I thought well that's sort of unusual.

And then I said if it's truly just about helping the people because he said he just wants to help the people, I go "If it's truly about helping the people and nothing to do with ratings, then debate me on Larry King during sweeps if that's what you want to do, if that's what you believe" and that's how it started.

KING: And is it ended now? CLOONEY: No, listen, I've asked him a dozen places. I'd debate him here again on any of those subjects but he doesn't want to do that, you know. He doesn't want to debate anywhere but a place where he owns the microphone and that's fair. You know, listen, I wouldn't want to debate it either. He's sort of got some vulnerabilities now, you know.

KING: Oh, I see. All right, let's get to other areas and then we'll go back to "Good Night and Good Luck" as we said.


KING: By the way did you like Ed Murrow?


KING: Was there anything about him you didn't like?

CLOONEY: No, there's nothing about him I didn't like. You know I grew up with him looming over our household. He was a big part of our lives and he represented to us -- I'm sure, listen, I'm sure he was tough and I'm sure he could, you know, fall short of many of your ideas but I think most great people do personally but in the scheme of things, in the scheme of broadcast journalism especially.

KING: OK. What do you make of tabloids in general? Do you read them?

CLOONEY: I have certainly, yes.

KING: Do you tend to believe them?

CLOONEY: No. You know it will depend on the story, you know. The truth is if you throw, you know, 50 things at the wall a couple of them are going to stick and they're going to be right about a couple of them. It's sort of, you know, the horoscope people. The problem, the danger for me, listen I grew up around tabloids.

KING: You sure did.

CLOONEY: And I know all about it. My aunt knew about it.

KING: His aunt was Rosie Clooney by the way who we'll talk about.

CLOONEY: So, I knew all about it. I don't mind it. It's entertainment. I don't mind that. The bigger concern I have is when tabloid journalism, which is, it becomes the first or second source for real news I start to worry about that. When you see stories that are sourced by, you know, a London tabloid says this and then suddenly those become the news source or the source for important real news I worry about that.

KING: Are they generally inaccurate about you?

CLOONEY: Sometimes. Look, you know, you've had a lot of people on who will go it's all lies, you know. They'll get some things right and they'll get some things wrong. There's never been a day in my life ever since I got famous that they -- that I won't read something on my Blackberry or get a note or something that's completely false. There's never been a day but you can't defend all of those because you'll just, you'll a jerk. All you do is...

KING: Do they drive you nuts?

RE: "Good Night, And Good Luck" most valuable movie of the year


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