CANNES • Donald Trump will never be elected United States president, George Clooney said on Thursday as his new film, tapping into the anger fuelling the tycoon's campaign, premiered in Cannes.
Money Monster, directed by Oscar- winning actress Jodie Foster, is a thundering indictment of casino capitalism. It stars Clooney as a Wall Street television pundit taken hostage live on air by an "ordinary Joe" who has lost everything on the stock market. The thriller takes aim at not only the world of finance, but also reality TV and rolling news.
Clooney said all these helped destroy real journalism and blamed them for propelling populist politicians towards the White House.
"There is not going to be a President Donald Trump. That is not going to happen because fear is not going to drive our country," he said at the Cannes Film Festival. "We are not going to be scared of Muslims or immigrants or women. We are not actually afraid of anything."
Mr Trump's campaign has been driven by a string of incendiary comments about Muslims, immigration and women.
"Trump is a result of all the news programmes that don't follow up and ask the questions," said the actor, who plays a cynical cable news tipster who begins to question himself after a gun is held to his head.
"Twenty-four-hour news doesn't mean you get more news, you just get the same news more. They can put up their ratings with an empty podium saying, 'Donald Trump is about to speak' rather than take 30 seconds and talk about refugees, the biggest crisis in the world." Clooney has long campaigned to highlight the plight of migrants.
"Would all of the corporations fall on their knees if we did actually inform people?" asked the actor, who hosted fundraisers for Mrs Hillary Clinton last month in her bid to win the Democratic nomination for November's election. "We have lost the ability to tell the truth and get to the facts."
Foster said the film keys into popular fury with the system. The anger felt by the hostage-taker, played by British actor Jack O'Connell, is "a kind of rage that a lot of people feel about the abuses of technology and the financial system and how they were left behind".
Foster said "intelligent studio movies" such as Money Monster "are not being made anymore". But she insisted the public want to see movies "that make them think and feel and don't manipulate them".
Julia Roberts co-stars in her Cannes debut. O'Connell said: "I discovered the role would entail holding George Clooney hostage, likewise Julia Roberts, and going after Dominic West (who plays a banker) with a gun, a bomb vest, a detonator... so I thought that was within my capabilities."
The film had a mixed reception from critics. The Hollywood Reporter called it a "preppy, upright film", while Variety praised its suspense and humour and said that, despite some odd moments, "somehow the film hangs together surprisingly well, thanks to on-point performances from Clooney and Roberts".
Meanwhile, stars of the Chinese film Time Raiders were at Cannes to promote their domestic summer blockbuster contender on Thursday. China A-lister Jing Boran and actress Ma Sichun discussed the film which has high expectations, in part due to Jing's appearance in last year's smash hit Monster Hunt.
"I don't dare to think about that because, with Monster Hunt before the premiere, we all had question marks, none of us had imagined it would achieve so much, it surpassed all our expectations," he told Reuters Television. Time Raiders will be out in July in China.