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Christopher McQuarrie To Helm Colin Firth In ‘Three To Kill’

By | Wednesday November 20, 2013 @ 5:40pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Andrew Lauren Productions has committed to finance Three To Kill, an adaptation of the novel by French author Jean-Patrick Manchette. Christopher McQuarrie has signed on to direct and Colin Firth will star. Howard Rodman will write the script and Lauren will produce with Laura Bickford. Pic is a thriller set on the coast of France. A disillusioned businessman witnesses a murder and finds himself being hunted by two relentless sociopaths. The novel was adapted by Jacques Tardi into the graphic novel West Coast Blues, and that was nominated for two Eisner Awards in 2010. Manchette’s The Prone Gunman was separately turned into The Gunman, a Studio Canal Silver Pictures co-production that was directed by Pierre Morel with Sean Penn, Javier Bardem and Idris Elba starring.

Related: Chris McQuarrie To Direct ‘Star Blazers’ From ’70s Anime Series
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Chris McQuarrie To Direct ‘Star Blazers’ From ’70s Sci-Fi Anime Series For Skydance

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Skydance Productions has set Christopher McQuarrie to write and direct Star Blazers, the live-action adaptation of the space-set 1970s anime TV series also known as Space Battleship Yamato. McQuarrie, Josh C. Kline, David Ellison and Dana Goldberg will produce, and Shouji Nizhizaki and Paul Schwake will be exec producers.

Skydance had set McQuarrie to write back when it acquired the series in 2011. In the futuristic Star Blazers, Earth’s atmosphere has been obliterated by a distant alien race, and the survivors have one year before radiation will reach their underground refuge and wipe out the human race. The survivors get a shot of hope in the form of alien technology that can deliver a small crew across the universe and back with the means to stave off extinction. The intention is to hatch a franchise from a series that was ahead of its time, coming before Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. It becomes another big-scale film for Skydance — which is coming off World War Z, Star Trek: Into Darkness and G.I. Joe: Retaliation – with Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit coming in January. Skydance is working with Paramount and Annapurna on the Terminator reboot, and is developing Geostorm, a global disaster film which Dean Devlin will direct from a script he wrote with Paul Guyot.

McQuarrie is repped by CAA, Key Creatives’ Ken Kamins … Read More »

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TOLDJA: Christopher McQuarrie Confirmed To Helm ‘Mission: Impossible 5′

Paramount and Skydance Productions today confirmed that Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher, The Way Of The Gun) will direct the next installment of their Mission: Impossible franchise. McQuarrie Tweeted the message “Mission: Accepted” and will reunite in the pic with his Jack Reacher star Tom Cruise. Deadline’s Mike Fleming first reported that McQuarrie was being eyed to direct the action sequel which will see franchise star Tom Cruise return as super spy Ethan Hunt. “The Mission series is special for its signature directors; Chris McQuarrie keeps this tradition thriving,” said Paramount Film Group President Adam Goodman. Drew Pearce is scripting the pic for Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions with Cruise and JJ Abrams‘ Bad Robot also producing. McQuarrie is repped by CAA.

Related: Paramount Eyes McQuarrie To Helm Next ‘Mission: Impossible’

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Christopher McQuarrie Returns To Write, Direct GK Films Adaptation Of British Miniseries ‘Unforgiven’

By | Tuesday June 25, 2013 @ 3:34pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Christopher McQuarrie is back steering the feature adaptation of the celebrated UK miniseries Unforgiven. He has signed on to write, direct and produce alongside Graham King, whose GK Films has tried for several years to turn the mini into a film and got McQuarrie to return.

Unforgiven is a drama-thriller about the intrigue and violence that unfolds when a woman completes a 15-year prison stretch for the murder of two policemen who’d come to evict her family from their farmhouse. Her hope is to live quietly and reunite with her troubled younger sister, but she unwittingly becomes a target for revenge. Suranne Jones played the lead in the mini, which was written by Sally Wainwright and directed by David Evans. McQuarrie was originally going to write the project after King bought it in 2010, and he was going to write it as a potential star vehicle for Angelina Jolie. He left to direct Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher. While McQuarrie is expected to next direct Cruise in Mission: Impossible 5, Unforgiven has again become a priority project for him. McQuarrie separately scripted Cruise’s next film at Warner Bros, All You Need Is Kill. He won the Oscar for scripting The Usual Suspects. Read More »

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Paramount Eyes Chris McQuarrie To Helm Tom Cruise In Next ‘Mission: Impossible’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: After directing Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher, Christopher McQuarrie is poised to take on the next installment of Cruise’s signature tentpole. I’m told that McQuarrie is the choice to helm the fifth Mission: Impossible film that is in the early stages of being put together by Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions. They will hire writers before making it official, but he’s the guy that Cruise and JJ Abrams want.

M:I-5 is a big priority for the studio after the Brad Bird-directed Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol grossed just under $700 million worldwide. McQuarrie, who won the Oscar for scripting The Usual Suspects, has more recently become Cruise’s go-to guy as a writer. After collaborating with Cruise on Valkyrie, McQuarrie has had a credited or uncredited hand in most of Cruise’s recent films including All You Need Is Kill, Ghost Protocol (uncredited), and the Top Gun 2 film which is in limbo after the death of director Tony Scott. Paramount and Skydance also have McQuarrie developing to direct Without Remorse, the action thriller based on the Tom Clancy novel. Read More »

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Paramount Confirms Christopher McQuarrie Taking On Tom Clancy’s ‘Without Remorse’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has confirmed to me that it is near a deal with Christopher McQuarrie to adapt Tom Clancy’s 1993 novel Without Remorse, with an eye toward directing the film. I’d revealed last week that this was looking real and that Paramount wanted to stay in the McQuarrie business after the job he did adapting and directing Lee Child’s Jack Reacher with Tom Cruise, which the studio co-financed with Skydance. Paramount has high hopes that McQuarrie and Cruise have launched a new tough guy franchise with the Reacher bestsellers, and there is certainly that possibility in Without Remorse. But though the book first–a spinoff to Clancy’s Jack Ryan series–sold to Savoy Pictures back in 1993 for $2.5 million, it has proven to be a very difficult book to adapt, even though its protagonist was the basis for the operative Clark played memorably by Willem Dafoe in Clear and Present Danger. Paramount tried a couple of times to get it going, but the problem has been an incredibly bleak and violent storyline that McQuarrie will have to find a way to brighten if this is going to work. That effort has already been well underway through script work done by Shawn Ryan, creator of the seminal FX crime drama The Shield. Skydance, which is cofinancing the Jack Ryan series, is also partnered with Paramount on Without Remorse.

John Kelly … Read More »

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Director Talk: David Yates For ‘Tarzan,’ Christopher McQuarrie For ‘Without Remorse’

Mike Fleming

No deals have been made, but I am hearing that things are getting serious between Warner Bros and Harry Potter director David Yates on Tarzan, the long gestating film about the tree swinging ape man. At the same time, Paramount is courting Christopher McQuarrie for Without Remorse, an equally long gestating thriller based on the Tom Clancy book about Clark the mercenary who appeared in the Jack Ryan films, and who was played in Clear in Present Danger by Willem Dafoe. In Without Remorse, Clark is a Navy SEAL turned CIA operative who is bent on revenge after a drug dealer kills his girl. Warner Bros has denied Yates is set and Paramount insiders have said they would look to McQuarrie for a new draft of a script originated by Shawn Ryan. But Paramount is high on McQuarrie for the job  he did directing Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher, based on the Lee Child novels. Stay tuned.

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David Oyelowo Joins Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: David Oyelowo has joined the cast of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. He has headed to Virginia and will play the role of a cavalryman. Oyelowo takes the job while he’s concurrently shooting the Christopher McQuarrie-directed One Shot with Tom Cruise starring as Jack Reacher in the Lee Child novel series. Oyelowo plays the lead detective investigating a sniper massacre in Pittsburgh. Oyelowo, last seen in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Help, recently wrapped the Lee Daniels-directed The Paperboy, playing a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who teams with another reporter to investigate the possible wrongful conviction of a murderer. Matthew McConaughey, John Cusack and Nicole Kidman also star. Oyelowo will next be seen starring in Red Tails, the George Lucas-hatched drama about a crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program who persevered through segregation to get their chance to show their stuff in the air under the guidance of Col. A.J. Bullard. Oyelowo is repped by ICM, Inphenate and UK-based Hamilton Hodell.

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Hayley Atwell, Diane Kruger, Kate Beckinsale Reading With Tom Cruise For ‘Oblivion’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The hot role for young actresses is in Universal’s Joseph Kosinski-directed Tom Cruise science fiction film Oblivion. Jessica Chastain already signed on for one of two plum roles, and I’m told the studio will read three actresses for the other female lead this weekend in Pittsburgh. That is where Cruise is shooting One Shot, playing Jack Reacher in the Christopher McQuarrie-directed adaptation of the Lee Child novel series.

Captain America‘s Hayley Atwell, Inglourious Basterds’ Diane Kruger, and Kate Beckinsale have made it to the lightning round to play a mysterious young woman who crash-lands on earth much to the shock of Cruise’s character, a soldier who is one of the last men on the planet in a post-apocalyptic future where most of the population lives in clouds above an earth surface that has been rendered uninhabitable. Cruise’s character is alone as he repairs the drones that patrol and destroy a savage alien life form, until he encounters a beautiful woman who crashes in a craft, and their experience together forces him to question his world view.

Universal committed to finance and distribute the $100 million film last April, after Disney let it go because it didn’t fit the family film mold. The script by William Monahan got a rewrite from Karl Gajdusek. Kosinski hatched … Read More »

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Christopher McQuarrie Launches Transmedia Navy SEAL Drama

By | Friday October 14, 2011 @ 8:02am PDT
Mike Fleming

Christopher McQuarrie will write, produce and direct Rubicon, a new property that is intended to be turned into a movie, graphic novel and videogame. McQuarrie is directing Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher in One Shot, but the project was announced at NY Comic-Con by coproducers Mark Long and Dan Capel. They describe the project as The Seven Samurai, set in Afghanistan with Navy SEALs as the heroes, and the Taliban the villains. Since Navy SEAL Team Six killed Osama Bin Laden, the SEALs have become the centerpiece of numerous feature films.

“The three of us wanted to do a SEAL project, Dan was a founding member of SEAL Team Six and Chris’s brother commanded a team, but we wanted a new way in to the world of Tier One operators,” said Long, who added that the intention was to “explore the true nature of war, for both its heroes and its victims.” Said McQuarrie: “I’ve always been fascinated with Navy SEALs in general and their role in Afghanistan in particular. With Rubicon, Mark Long and Dan Capel have created the perfect environment for an intense action franchise.” The plan is to create the multiplatform properties simultaneously, with separate but complementary storylines. They’ll tease the graphic novel on Panelfly this month, and include the first chapter of Berserker, an autobiography that Capel has written.

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Josh Olson Scripts ‘Tabloid’ For Mick Jagger And Steve Bing

By | Monday September 26, 2011 @ 12:42pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: A History of Violence scribe Josh Olson has been set to write Tabloid, the working title of an adult thriller that is being fashioned as a potential starring vehicle for Mick Jagger. Jagger had the idea for the film, and is producing with Victoria Pearman through his Jagged Films banner. They’ve set up the project to be financed by Steve Bing, who’ll also produce through his Shangri-La Entertainment banner. The role Jagger is eyeing is a global media mogul with dubious morality, and there is a young journalist who gets seduced and sucked into that immoral world. Olson most recently wrote the first draft of One Shot, the Lee Child novel that Paramount is putting into production with Chris McQuarrie directing and Tom Cruise playing Jack Reacher. The UTA-repped Olson has also scripted a series version of the Korean action film Soo for FX.

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Rosamund Pike Gets Female Lead In Tom Cruise’s ‘One Shot’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Rosamund Pike is negotiating for the female lead opposite Tom Cruise in One Shot, the Christopher McQuarrie-directed adaptation of the bestselling Lee Child novel series for Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions. Pike was among a small group of actresses vying for the role. The British actress played Andromeda in Clash of the Titans 2, and she recently wrapped the David Frankel-directed The Big Year opposite Owen Wilson, Jack Black and Steve Martin, and the Rowan Atkinson comedy Johnny English Reborn.

Cruise is playing Jack Reacher, the retired military policeman who wanders the country with only his passport, bankbook, toothbrush and the clothes on his back. He finds his way into scrapes, taking the side of the underdog. In One Shot, Reacher investigates a case in which a lone sniper murders five victims before being captured. Reacher discovers it’s more than a simple open-and-shut case.

Pike will play Helen Rodin, a local defense attorney defending the man arrested for the shootings. She works with Reacher to bring the true culprits to justice. Don Granger and Cruise will produce through Mutual Film Company and C/W Productions. Skydance’s David Ellison and Dana Goldberg are producing as is Gary Levinsohn and Paula Wagner, and Ken Kamins is exec producer. UTA reps Pike with Shelly Browning and UK-based Dallas Smith.

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Paramount Moves Tom Cruise’s ‘Mission: Impossible’ To December 21 And Sets ‘One Shot’ For Early 2013

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures will move Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol from its Dec. 16, 2011 release date to Wednesday, Dec. 21, putting the picture smack into the holiday corridor. That moves the film back from opening against Warner Bros’ Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows and Fox’s Alvin and the Chipmunks sequel. It will now open against the David Fincher-directed Sony drama The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and be released two days before Paramount’s The Adventures of Tintin, Summit’s The Darkest Hour, Fox’s We Bought A Zoo, and FilmDistrict’s release of the Angelina Jolie-directed In The Land Of Blood And Honey.

At the same time, Paramount will soon formalize a Feb. 8, 2013 release date for One Shot, the Christopher McQuarrie-directed adaptation of the Lee Child mystery novel series that the studio hopes will launch another Cruise franchise. Cruise committed earlier this month to play Jack Reacher, a retired military policeman who wanders the country with his toothbrush, the clothes on his back and his bankbook and inadvertently gets involved in conspiracies that find him taking the side of the powerless and exploited. He often settles matters with explosive violence. For Paramount, the strategy is to replicate the winter release pattern it followed successfully on Shutter Island, the Dennis Lehane novel that was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Leonardo DiCaprio. Read More »

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Tom Cruise Locked To Play Jack Reacher In ‘One Shot’ For Paramount And Skydance

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions have closed a deal with Tom Cruise to play Jack Reacher in One Shot, the thriller based on the Lee Child bestselling book series about the former military policeman-turned-drifter. An early fall start date has been set for the film, which will be directed by Christopher McQuarrie. Cruise will then move right into the lead role of the Joseph Kosinski-directed Oblivion at Universal early next year.

I first wrote about the Cruise talks last month, and it created a lot of discussion among fans of the series because  the Reacher character is 6’5” and about 250 pounds, and Cruise is not. At the time, the author was among those most excited about the casting, saying that “Reacher’s size in the books is a metaphor for an unstoppable force, which Cruise portrays in his own way.” This is certainly a vote of confidence from Paramount and Skydance principal David Ellison in the work Cruise did reprising his Ethan Hunt role in Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, which the studio will release December 16.

In One Shot, Reacher investigates a case in which a lone sniper murders five victims before being captured. Reacher discovers it’s more than a simple open-and-shut case. Cruise and McQuarrie teamed on Valkyrie, McQuarrie did some script work on Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, and he also did early script work on The Tourist Read More »

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Fox Chooses James Mangold On ‘Wolverine’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: James Mangold is 20th Century Fox’s  and star Hugh Jackman’s choice to direct The Wolverine, ending one of the most competitive contests among directors for a major studio film. Negotiations are about to get underway, but I’m told that Mangold will take the helming job on the sequel to the X-Men spinoff film, a post that became vacant when Darren Aronofsky dropped out of the film in March. I’d heard that Mangold was on a very short list coming into this week, along with Warrior director Gavin O’Connor and Brooklyn’s Finest helmer Antoine Fuqua. I’ve heard that Fox will look to start principal photography in the fall. Scripted by Christopher McQuarrie, The Wolverine takes place mostly in Japan. Mangold most recently directed the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz starrer Knight and Day for Fox, and before that 3:10 to Yuma and Walk the Line. Mangold’s repped by WME and Management 360.

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Tom Cruise In Talks To Play Jack Reacher In Chris McQuarrie-Directed ‘One Shot’ For Paramount And Skydance

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions are negotiating with Tom Cruise to star this fall in One Shot, a thriller based on the Lee Child book series about former military policeman-turned-drifter Jack Reacher. Christopher McQuarrie will direct his script. The talks going on right now is for Cruise to make the movie before he stars in the Joseph Kosinski-directed Oblivion at Universal, which starts in January.

Making a Cruise deal is always tricky, and if the One Shot deal takes awhile to come together, it would happen after Oblivion shoots next year. Paramount will co-finance the film with Skydance Productions, whose principal David Ellison also co-financed Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.

Fans of the Reacher book will have to absorb this development, because Cruise is very different physically from the bruising tough guy who has created mayhem over 15 bestselling novels that have sold 40 million copies. In the books, Reacher is 6’5,” about 250 pounds, and when you are on the business end of his clenched fists, you are most likely going to be spitting out teeth and getting fitted for a cast or two. Cruise has always been interested in the Reacher series. In fact, when he and Paula Wagner were partners at C/W, they optioned the book five years ago. Paramount has been developing ever since, but this is the closest that the Reacher franchise has to becoming a reality after years in development. So what if he’s not as tall and beefy as Reacher? I’m told that the author himself is excited about Cruise playing the role, that Cruise personifies the qualities Reacher displays in the books. As for Reacher’s hulking physical size, Child wasn’t locked into an oversized actor (one reason the film took so long to get off the ground), and it was more about establishing an intimidating presence.

“Reacher’s size in the books is a metaphor for an unstoppable force, which Cruise portrays in his own way,” Child said when he threw his support behind the move. Read More »

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Will Hugh Jackman Soon Be Packing For A ‘Fantastic Voyage?’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing that Hugh Jackman is director Shawn Levy’s first choice to star in 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Voyage, the James Cameron-produced 3D tent pole film. It’s early days, but this would give Jackman a big movie to do while he and Fox sort things out with The Wolverine. The film was on a fast track to start production this year, until Darren Aronofsky dropped out as director. They’ve considered such helmers as Source Code‘s Duncan Jones and David Slade, but haven’t yet hired a helmer. There has also been complications because the Christopher McQuarrie script is set almost entirely in Japan, a country still dealing with the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami. Pushing the picture back wouldn’t hurt Fox that much, because expectations are high for this summer’s X-Men: First Class, which would keep the franchise vibrant. It would also keep Jackman and Levy in the Fox fold at a time when their recent collaboration, Real Steel, looks like it could be a big hit for DreamWorks in the fall.

Deadline revealed in February that Levy had come aboard Fantastic Voyage, the re-imagining of the 1966 original about a team of scientists shrunk into a ship in an attempt to save a colleague’s life. Fox and Cameron are planning an ambitious 3D film with a script by Shane Salerno and Laeta Kalogridis, and the new … Read More »

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‘True Grit’ Co-Financier Skydance Targets ‘Star Blazers’ For Christopher McQuarrie

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: David Ellison’s Skydance Productions is negotiating a rights deal to turn the 1970s animated science fiction TV series Star Blazers into a large scale live action feature. Ellison will hire Christopher McQuarrie to write the script, with Ellison and Josh C. Kline producing with McQuarrie. The series was based on the Japanese anime series Space Battleship Yamato. Both are described as “space opera,” involving alien invasions, the near extinction of the human race, and a last dash journey through space to save the planet.

Ellison started Skydance with hopes he could emulate the studio-aligned-producer-who-can-put-up-50% model that Thomas Tull’s Legendary Pictures has succeeded with at Warner Bros. Ellison made a deal with Paramount Pictures in late 2009 to co-finance four to six pictures per year, and then raised a reported $350 million in debt and equity funding. His Paramount deal has gotten off to a flying start: Skydance funded half of True Grit, the $30 million Joel and Ethan Coen-directed Western that is up for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture. More importantly to Ellison’s investors, True Grit has so far grossed $165 million domestic, with foreign still rolling out.

Ellison is the son of Oracle founder Larry Ellison and an accomplished acrobatic pilot who has a particular appetite for aviation projects (though his first foray as actor-producer, the Tony Bill-directed Flyboys, landed … Read More »

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Fox 2000 Acquires ‘Monster Of Florence’ With George Clooney Attached To Star

By | Tuesday January 4, 2011 @ 6:10pm PST
Mike Fleming

Fox 2000 has closed a deal that turns the bestselling crime book The Monster of Florence into a star vehicle for George Clooney. Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander are aboard to write the script. Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen of the Jinks/Cohen Company will produce with Smokehouse’s Grant Heslov, and McQuarrie.

Clooney will play Douglas Preston, who wrote the nonfiction bestseller The Monster of Florence with Italian crime reporter Mario Spezi. Preston is a thriller writer who met Spezi after moving to Italy. Together, they set out to solve a 30-year old serial murder case. Seven couples were savagely murdered between 1974 and 1985 while they sat in cars parked just outside Florence. The trail was cold when Preston moved into a nearby farmhouse and began asking questions. By that time, suspects had been let go, and authorities didn’t welcome the curiosity of the writer. They threw Spezi in jail and interrogated Preston. Finally, the sleuths began putting the pieces into place and solved the murder.

The project was pitched to Fox 2000′s Carla Hacken just before the holiday. She and president Elizabeth Gabler got excited enough to seal the deal just before Christmas. The producers had post-holiday meetings set around town, but they proved unnecessary and were canceled. For Clooney, this is another opportunity to make a movie in Italy, which has become his second home. Clooney is directing and starring in The Ides of March, and then joins Sandra … Read More »

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