George Clooney is never one to shy away from controversy. The Oscar-winning filmmaker who has made some challenging and politically polarizing films such as Syriana, Good Night, and Good Luck and The Men Who Stare at Goats now plans to bring the hit West End play Enron to the big screen.
However, it appears that a few people aren’t happy with some of the choices that Clooney has made.In September we learned that Spider-Man producer Laura Ziskin and Columbia Pictures were making the Enron film, but this is the first mention of Clooney’s attachment to the project as a producer – and Observer also states that he is “also likely to direct it”.
The official synopsis of the play reads as follows:
“One of the most infamous scandals in financial history becomes a theatrical epic in Lucy Prebble’s groundbreaking play ENRON. Mixing classic tragedy with savage comedy, it follows a group of flawed men and women in a narrative of greed and loss which reviews the tumultuous 1990’s and casts a new light on the financial turmoil in which the world finds itself in 2009.”
Along with the announcement that Clooney has come onboard as producer, we hear the news that the original British cast for the award-winning play will be ditched when the play makes the transition to the big screen – news that appears to have infuriated London’s West End.
Philip Hedley, the former director of the Theater Royal Stratford East, is quoted as saying:
“It’s a great shame that the original talent hasn’t been able to follow through, to put onto film what they’ve originally created.”
While an unnamed theater director told Observer:
“Everything works on celebrity and famous names.”
Rupert Goold, who won the Best Director Award at the 2010 Olivier Awards for Enron simply asked “How do you compete with George Clooney?”
Laura Ziskin defended the artistic choices for the film by stating that this would be a “new take” on Lucy Prebble’s play by saying:
“Once you’ve done something… you’ve done it. Let that stand on its own. This is an American story.”
The film version of Enron will have an uphill struggle. When the play made the move from the West End to Broadway, it closed after just fifteen performances. The producers may need to stock the film with some well-known faces to ensure that the film doesn’t die a painful death at the U.S. box office – a tactic that Clooney has employed for his big screen adaptation of Farragut North (retitled The Ides of March). Ziskin appears to be optimistic that- unlike Enron‘s debut on Broadway – the time is now right for this story to be told to U.S. audiences: “Maybe Americans didn’t want that mirror held up to them at that moment.”
Screen Rant will keep you posted as Clooney and company attach a cast and bring Enron to the screen.