In Jodie Foster’s latest thriller, George Clooney headlines as the glib and ostentatious host of a financial show called Money Monster, where he dishes out stock tips and spectacle in equal measure. As host Lee Gates, Clooney shakes his hips (with backup dancers in gold spandex) and punctuates every piece of financial advice with flashy graphics and sound effects.
Many of Money Monster reviews have drawn comparisons between Gates and the host of a certain similarly-titled financial show. But when Clooney sat down with Foster, costar Julia Roberts, and EW and PEOPLE editorial director Jess Cagle for EW’s Money Monster cover story, he insisted that Gates isn’t a parody of Mad Money host Jim Cramer.
“A lot of journalists now treat a lot of things like sport,” Clooney says. “Like entertainment. It goes on in all forms of information now. So what I liked about this role was that it represents more than just a Jim Cramer kind of guy. Somebody said that Jim Cramer is afraid I’m playing him. I’m not.”
Money Monster follows a normal broadcast gone wrong, as a disgruntled viewer named Kyle (Jack O’Connell) takes the studio hostage after losing his life savings on a bad tip from Gates. It’s up to Gates and his producer Patty (Roberts) to not only get to the bottom of what went wrong with Kyle’s investment — but to also negotiate for their own lives.
“Lee Gates knows everything about the financial world, and he’s a brilliant man,” Foster says. “But he’s been living in the skin of being a celebrity, and he’s forgotten who he was as a human being. This process makes him remember.”
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