Last fall, a project burbled up to the surface entitled “College Republicans.” Penned by Wes Jones — and making the 2010 Black List of best unproduced screenplays — the project was gaining some heat with Richard Linklater rumored for the director’s chair and Shia LaBeouf apparently sniffing around the lead role. Well, nearly a year has passed and the film is coming together with a few changes to the lineup.
Linklater is still the man behind the camera, but the The Wrap reveals that Paul Dano has taken the lead role in the comedy-drama about a young Karl Rove vying for the position of chief campus conservative under the guidance of one Lee Atwater, who’s his campaign manager. If you don’t know who Karl Rove is, you haven’t been paying attention to politics
in the last few years at all. He’s the notoriously slimy man who has worked behind the scenes for a staggering number of conservative douchebags over the past few decades including most importantly George H. W. Bush and his son George W. Bush. Rove knows no dirty trick he can’t employ or double speak he can’t use to get his candidates elected and his influence and ties to power run deep. That said, this film will tell his early days working under another string puller for the Republicans, the equally dubious Lee Atwater.
It’s a great role for Dano, and yet again, something different for the actor who seems to be making a conscious choice to mix things up with his forthcoming slate ranging from the sci-fi “Looper,” the indie dramedy “He Loves Me” as well as the adaptation of the best-selling book “Another Bullshit Night In Suck City.” For Linklater, it’s another potential career jumpstart after his last films (“Fast Food Nation,” “Me And Orson Welles“) didn’t perform well and one very promising project fell apart (“Liars (A-E)“). This year has seen the director bounce back with the dark comedy “Bernie” starring Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey and this should keep the momentum going.
Financing is coming together and once everything is ready to go, filming will kick off in November in — where else? — Austin, Texas.