Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Exclusive Media Group chairman Guy East and Nigel Sinclair are teaming with Cross Creek Pictures president Brian Oliver to finance The Ides of March, the drama that is based on the Beau Willimon Broadway play Farragut North. George Clooney, long set as director, will also star alongside Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood. Clooney and his Smoke House Pictures partner Grant Heslov wrote the script with Willimon. The Smoke House partners are producing with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way. East, Sinclair and Oliver are co-producing. Exclusive Films International will sell offshore territories at AFM. CAA, which packaged the film and raised the financing, will broker the domestic deal. I’ve heard that Sony Pictures Entertainment is a potential landing place. The film begins production February in Michigan and Ohio.

Deadline revealed September 30 that Gosling would take the role that DiCaprio originally intended to play, a press spokesman for a candidate running in the presidential primary for the Democratic Party ticket. Clooney will play the candidate, a state governor with White House aspirations. Willimon based the play on his own experiences on the campaign trail with Howard Dean in 2004. In the play, the press agent falls prey to backroom politics, the manipulations of veteran political operatives and the seduction of a young intern. Giamatti plays a rival campaign manager, Tomei plays a reporter for the New York Times, and Wood plays an intern for the campaign.

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