George Clooney‘s directorial career so far has been somewhat hit and miss. “Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind“? Interesting, but very flawed. “Good Night And Good Luck?” Cracking, and Oscar-nominated for its troubles. “Leatherheads?” More or less a complete washout. “The Ides Of March?” A solid political drama. “Monuments Men?” Disappointing. It’s almost like he’s obeying the “Star Trek” odd/even rule, and that means we’re due for a good one next time around. And the megastar has chosen what it’ll be.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Clooney’s planning to direct “Hack Attack,” an adaptation of journalist Nick Davies‘ book about the News Of The World hacking scandal. In case you missed it, the case saw the revelation that journalists at the News Of The World, a 168-year-old British tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch, had been illegally hacking into the voicemails of politicians, celebrities and even murder victims and terrorist survivors. The ensuing inquiry lasted for months, and saw a number of journalists, including the paper’s former editor Andy Coulson, then a senior staffer to Prime Minister David Cameron, sent to prison, while the paper was closed by Murdoch in a desperate face-saving move.
It’s a killer story, full of colorful characters, from Murdoch to, uh, Hugh Grant, who was a victim of hacking and became an outspoken opponent of the paper, and it’s a good fit for Clooney, both due to his professional interest in old-school political thrillers, and his personal interest in privacy (he recently attacked another British tabloid, the Daily Mail). The star commented to the trade “”This has all the elements – lying, corruption, blackmail – at the highest levels of government by the biggest newspaper in London. And the fact that it’s true is the best part. Nick is a brave and stubborn reporter and we consider it an honor to put his book to film.”
Clooney and producing partner Grant Heslov are making the film through their Smokehouse banner, with Sony backing the project. Clooney will direct, and we assume that he and Heslov will again be writing the script, though that’s unclear at this point. Shooting will begin next year, so look for this to be an awards contender when it lands (likely in 2016). One imagines that the actor won’t be taking a part himself, but we’re already spending our time imagining who he’ll be casting as Murdoch, Grant, Rebekah Brooks et al…