Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The George Clooney-directed The Ides of March will open the Venice Film Festival on Aug. 31, I’m told. The film, adapted from Beau Willimon’s play Farragut North, stars Clooney as a presidential candidate, Ryan Gosling as a head of media and Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a campaign manager. Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood also star. The drama takes place during the Ohio primary for the Democratic nomination. It’s extremely topical, given the recent resignation of Congressman Anthony Weiner for sending photos of his package to online “sexting” partners. The Ides of March involves similar scandalous activities. Clooney, who retreats to a vacation home in Lake Como in Italy, has had several of his films play at the festival. They include Intolerable Cruelty, The Man Who Stared at Goats, and the Steven Soderbergh-directed Out of Sight. Sony Pictures will distribute the film in fall.