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Attention downtown lobbyists, political consultants, and journalists: tonight, as you sip cocktails at your political book parties, or prepare for your MSNBC appearances, or do whatever you do in that world, add a little verve to your old routine. Hollywood’s watching. (Sort of like they were when Thank You For Smoking came out, but I guess they’re back at it again.)
Variety broke the news yesterday that Warner Bros. is developing a film version of the yet-to-be-debuted political play Farragut North, written by Beau Willimon, who worked for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign.
According to Variety, the script’s protagonist will be “a young communications director who works for a fast-rising presidential candidate.” During the campaign, “the idealistic young man falls prey to the backstabbing and other dirty trickery of seasoned rival politicos.” Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way and George Clooney’s company Smoke House are making the film, with DiCaprio himself “attached” to star. George Clooney is “eyeing the project as director.”
Apparently, the story’s sort of “old news” anyway, according to Willimon’s agent, Chris Till of Paradigm Talent and Literary Agency. The deals with Warner Bros. have been in place since February or March of this year, he says.
“But such as it is sometimes, we’re able to develop under wraps, and other times, we’re developing under the microscope.” He says he’s surprised the story didn’t run a long time ago.
New York’s Second Stage Theatre announced the play version would open in its 2007—2008 season. Then, over the summer, it was taken off the schedule. According to reports in the New York Post, Jake Gyllenhaal was rumored to star, and Mike Nichols (The Graduate, Closer) was reportedly set to direct.
But at least one of those tidbits isn’t true. “Mike Nichols is not directing this play,” says Till.