GEORGE CLOONEY had no time for questions about his personal life at the the TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. He turned the tables on a journalist who dared to ask what it’s like to date in the spotlight.

“Everyone here is a little ashamed of you right now. I knew someone would do it. I’m a little disappointed it’s you. Honestly. What’s your name? Paul? Everyone remember that name. The hard hitting interview by Paul,” GEORGE said Friday to laughter from the media.

“Listen, I think it’s tremendous that you asked that question. Go back and tell your editor you asked the question.”

The good natured ribbing came amid a joke filled press conference to promote his upcoming political thriller THE IDES OF MARCH.

The Hollywood heavyweight joked about blackmailing other A listers to join the cast, including RYAN GOSLING, PAUL GIAMATTI, PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN, MARISA TOMEI, EVAN RACHEL WOOD and JEFFREY WRIGHT.

GEORGE CLOONEY stars as GOVERNOR MIKE MORRIS, a candidate running in the presidential primary race for the Democratic Party ticket while RYAN GOSLING appears as an idealistic young press spokesperson who gets caught up in backroom politics.

GEORGE directed, produced and cowrote the feature, based on the stage play FARRAGUT NORTH by BEAU WILLIMON. He joked on Friday that he was also the film’s choreographer.

The lighthearted display included wry quips from RYAN, who needled GEORGE as he described what it was like to be directed by the A lister.

“It was more than fun — it was life altering,” the London, Ontario born RYAN said as GEORGE threw his head back in laughter beside him.

“Watching him work was like watching a unicorn being born every day.” As RYAN composed his response, GEORGE started throwing $50 bills at him.

The breezy rapport comes as THE IDES OF MARCH emerges as one of the early serious contenders in the upcoming awards season.

The cast brushed aside early OSCAR whispers while GEORGE downplayed any political commentary that could be ascribed to the film. He said he preferred to view it as a morality tale that anyone can relate to.

“This film reflects some of the cynicism that we’ve seen in recent times,” remarked GEORGE, whose previous directing gigs include LEATHERHEADS and CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND.

“It’s not a bad thing to hold a mirror up and look at some of the things that we’re doing. It’s not a bad thing to look at how we elect our officials. But that wasn’t what the film was designed to do. Honestly, the idea was for us that there isn’t a person you ever met who hasn’t been faced with certain moral questions.”

The cutthroat political tale takes place at an Ohio primary with MARISA TOMEI as an aggressive reporter for THE NEW YORK TIMES and EVAN RACHEL WOOD playing a seductive young campaign intern.

RYAN said he doubted that such a corrupt display could ever be set north of the border. “The Canadian version would be too nice,” he quipped. RYAN is also at the festival to promote the action film DRIVE.

PAUL GIAMATTI, who plays a rival strategist in IDES, kept the laughter rolling with a tongue in cheek allegation that politics were actually “filthy corrupt” in the Great White North.

“It’s probably just as dirty up here as it is anywhere else,” he said to chuckles from the media while RYAN protested.

“I think it’s time to blow the lid off of Canadian politics.”

THE IDES OF MARCH hits theatres on OCTOBER 7.

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