By Nuzhat Naoreen
Updated August 03, 2020 at 06:38 PM EDT
Jemal Countess/Getty Images

There are plenty of reasons to want to cast Ryan Gosling in a movie: He’s good-looking, charming, capable of driving ticket sales and stopping street fights (not simultaneously, although we wouldn’t be surprised), and, of course, inspiring Tumblers... the list goes on. But for The Ides of March director (and star) George Clooney, the decision to cast Gosling in his film came down to something much more basic: “He was cheaper,” Clooney quipped, responding to an audience member during a live 10 Questions interview with TIME’s Rick Stengel on Wednesday. “He hasn’t worked in awhile. I felt bad for him.”

During the sit-down, which also touched the star’s views on politics, advocacy, and the journalism industry, Clooney revealed that Gosling caught his attention early on. “When we were adapting the screenplay, from the very beginning, we had been considering Ryan all along,” explained Clooney. “He and I had long conversations about film a couple of years before so I always wanted to work with him. I liked him. I thought he was smart.”

Clooney, who described Gosling as a “terrific actor,” also said he was intrigued by the up-and-coming star’s career choices. “He’s an interesting actor. He’s now in sort of every movie, but for a long period of time he was sort of the reluctant star,” he said, referencing Gosling’s decision to step out of the spotlight following his breakout success in The Notebook.

Of course, talk surrounding Ides of March was only a small part of the nearly hour-long conversation, which delved into Clooney’s views on everything from the current political climate to Twitter. Some highlights below:

On supporting Obama: “I get angry at people who don’t stand around and stand for him.”

On the Republican party: “Republicans are good at standing by their candidate.”

On releasing Ides of March: “We were actually in pre-production and then Obama was elected,” he said. “We realized everybody was in such a good mood that we couldn’t possibly make this movie now. And then it took about a year. Bad for the country, very good for filmmaking.”

On whether he would run for President: “No. I would run from.”

On his Satellite Sentinel Project: “Omar al-Bashir, who has been charged for war crimes against humanity, has said that I’m spying on him, and I just said, ‘Look, I’m not a country. I don’t have to play by the same rules. I’m a guy with a camera 400 miles up. I’m a tourist taking pictures. And if you have a problem with that, I don’t care.’ You can’t please all the war criminals all the time.”

On Twitter: “I don’t Twitter, because I will drink in the evening and I don’t want anything that I could possibly write at midnight to actually end my career.”

Are you appropriately charmed yet?

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