Known for his strong political views, actor George Clooney had been looking for a political thriller to write with screenwriter Grant Heslov since their collaboration on Good Night, and Good Luck. When they stumbled upon a play of presidential ambition, Farragut North, by Beau Willimon, they knew they found their project. The play became the basis for the film, The Ides of March, about an idealistic young political staffer who discovers just how corrupt the system can be.

The all-star cast includes Clooney, who also directs, Ryan Gosling as the idealist, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, and Paul Giamatti.

Script sat down with Heslov to find out what it's like to churn out pages with one of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Podcast highlights:

  • "We wrote one of the final scenes first ..."
  • "You need to know if your main character starts here, you need to know where he ends ..."
  • "Our formula is to explain the minimal amount that the audience needs ..."