In the new thriller Money Monster, George Clooney plays Lee Gates, a Jim Cramer-style financial guru who uses his whiz-bang television show to tout stocks to viewers who can’t tell their bulls from their bears. But all bets are off once an angry investor turns up on set.
Distraught over losing his family’s life savings on a sure-thing fund that’s failed, the young man (Unbroken’s Jack O’Connell) hijacks a live broadcast, takes Gates hostage, and demands answers before the trading day ends. From the control booth, Gates’ formidable producer (Julia Roberts) tries to simultaneously save his life and manage the skyrocketing media frenzy.
Money Monster has been a years-in-the-making passion project for director Jodie Foster, who insists that while the topical story line taps into contemporary outrage over economic injustice, it’s about something more.
“The film is not a polemic,” she says. “It’s really about the brotherhood that forms between these two men who thought they were on opposite sides, who hated each other, until they realize they’re both fighting for the same thing.”
It also gave Foster a chance to work with Clooney, who is producing the film, and Roberts for the first time. The veteran actress was particularly struck by her leading lady’s innate star power.
“It’s something chemical,” Foster says. “She just sits in the chair and out it comes: It’s so real, so genuine, so effortless. In this movie, she’s got no makeup on, she’s got her hair yanked up. She’s practically wearing a sweatshirt and you can’t take your eyes off of her… [This casting] was all a bit of a dream for us.”
Money Monster will be released on May 13.