Cocktails With Clooney

Awards season is moving into high gear what with LAFCA voting this weekend, last minute screenings galore and DVD screeners flying through the air like confetti at Mardi Gras. Smarter publicists are arranging all manner of “special events” to keep the films they represent uppermost in film critic’s minds — especially if they premiered earlier this year and likely to have slipped said minds. So last night, a very nice cocktail party was held to honor the truly excellent “Michael Clayton” at Il Cielo. As promised writer-director Tony Gilroy was there along with featured actors Tom Wilkinson and Tilda. The paparazzi-beleagured (and unspeakably luscious) George Clooney wasn’t mentioned on the invite. But just as I suspected, he showed up nonetheless. After all he co-produced, and his role as a swank, high-powered legal “janitor” is very likely to win him an Oscar nomination. But George wasn’t into industry chat at all. In fact the main thing he wanted to talk about was the presidential race. He’s convinced that a Hillary nomination would be a disaster for the Democrats. “There are people out there who have never voted in their lives but would rush to the polls in order to defeat her.” As for Obama his enthusiasm is evenly tempered. Lord knows he’s more than qualified to be POTUS. But then compared to President Low Normal, so is my cat. Like a great many others George would have preferred to see AL Gore make a run for it Obama could have been a good Veep for him.

“That’s true,” I said, “but Gore’s not going to run.”

“Oh I know, I talked to him,” said George, who being one of the Gods of The Earth gets to talk to everyone.

“Why should he run? The Beltway Mafia hates him like poison. As a private citizen he’s been able to accomplish so much more for his biggest cause — Climate Change Awareness — than he ever would as President. And don’t forget, last time they saddled him with Joe Lieberman as Veep.”

“Yes. And now he’s won the Nobel prize.”

“Precisely. So why should he have to put up with this shit?”

“Well I think Obama can do it. We’ll know more after Iowa and New Hampshire. It looks like Hillary’s not going to win either, and things will change if Edwards does badly cause I’m sure he’ll have to drop out.”

As for the Republicans, George thinks that even if they somehow manage a Presidential win it won’t mean much because “We’ll have a really Democratic House and Senate with a veto-proof majority. That’s been the trouble up to now — not having a veto-proof majority. That will give the Democratic party genuine power.”

“In other words even Nancy Pelosi will be a Democrat.”

That got a big laugh out of George. He also spoke of the need for some sort of National Service for young people to participate in. Not the military — something to engage them in the life of this country.

“You mean like they could help Brad build new low-cost housing in the Ninth ward.”

“Yes. That would be one thing.”

On the movie front he’s pleased that he and Tilda are now something of a team having just completed shooting Burn After Reading for the Coens. As for his superstardom he’s levelling out after his recent much-noted dust-ups wth the paps.

“Did you see what Julia said to those guys?”

“Yes it was on TMZ. In fact I think you ought to go to their offices and talk with Harvey Levin. They would film you of course, shoot enough material for a week, and then you’d be golden.”

“Heh. Well he’s not like Bill O’Reilley, you know.”

“No he isn’t. So I think you should consider that.”

And at this point George’s lovely girlfriend Sarah Larson slipped into the room. So I chatted up Tom Wilkinson (a very thoughtful and modest performer, who doesn’t over-intellectualize his work in any way) and Tony Gilroy, who is next set to direct Julia — along with Clive Owen — in “Duplicity”

“A very Pinter title,” I said.

“Hmm,” said Gilroy.

Tilda says that after a brief vacation in Mexico she’ll be at Sundance for the premiere of a new documentary about Derek Jarman.

“Remember when Derek and I and Spring came here back in 1986 and Lucius Barr lent us his apartment? There was another tenant in the building who was Geraldine Page’s stand-in. She told us all about how she’d for years just as Geraldine Page’s stand-in. That’s all she did. Not act — just stand for the lights to be adjusted. And there was a whole world of people who did the same. I always felt there was a movie there.”

“Sort of Day of the Locust ?”

“A bit.”

Soon she’ll be starring as Lady MacBeth ( a part she can easily play blindfolded and hanging upside down) for John Maybury who (perchance in light of the long-held supersitions) has elected to call it “Come Like Shadows”. It will re-unite her with Caravaggio co-star Sean Bean.

Meanwhile on the home front the twins are now ten.

“Xavier is going to be a filmmaker. He runs around with his camera shooting things all the time.”

As for Honor, “She just announce to me ‘I am a poet!’ ”

“Well being your daughter I would expect nothing less.”

And Tilda grinned from ear to ear.

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