George Clooney will follow up his performance as a meticulous, solemn-faced assassin in this year's The American by playing a power-hungry politician (there's a joke in there...) in his next writing/directorial effort, The Ides of March.
Sony Pictures will distribute Clooney's cinematic adaptation of the off-Broadway play Farragut North, which reportedly now features Max Minghella (the Winklevoss twins' business partner in The Social Network) and character actor Jeffrey Wright as members of its already-impressive cast.
Deadline has the scoop on Ides of March snagging Minghella, who did well enough playing an understandably-incensed Divya Narendra in Fincher's Social Network. Minghella also played the son of Clooney's character in the 2005 political drama/thriller about the oil industry, Syriana. That film, possibly by sheer coincidence, also starred Wright - a highly-respected veteran of the stage/indie circuit who played Belize in the original stage run of Angels in America. Wright is best known to the masses as CIA agent Felix Leiter from the last two James Bond pics.
Word on Wright's involvement with Ides of March comes from The Daily Mail. The paper also claims that Clooney and Grant Heslov's script for the adaptation features "a 'Usual Suspects' twist" - given that the film deals with the behind-the-scenes corruption, trickery, and back-stabbing that goes on during a presidential primary campaign, it doesn't require a stretch of the imagination to believe that may very well be true.
Ryan Gosling will star in Ides of March as Stephen Meyers, the hot-headed spokesman and puppet master for Governor Morris (Clooney), who is competing in the Iowa Democratic caucuses to attain the party's presidential nomination. Meyers has his work cut out for him as he'll match wits with the leader of a rival candidate's campaign (Paul Giamatti) and fend off a NY Times reporter (Marisa Tomei) when she threatens to expose Meyer's less-than-scrupulous tactics - not to mention, reveal his affair with a teenage intern (Evan Rachel Wood) as well.
The original play Farragut North itself was written by Beau Willimon, who was heavily influenced by his experiences working on Howard Dean's presidential campaign back in 2004. Like its acclaimed source material, Clooney's Ides of March will likely focus primarily on the machinations of the political process - much like his Good Night, and Good Luck examined the hidden workings of the news reporting business (among other things).
Gosling has been on quite the roll this year with his praised turns in the Noirish, true-life drama All Good Things, as well as the melancholy relationship tale, Blue Valentine. His starring role in Clooney's new pic should only keep that winning streak alive, but one does have to wonder if Gosling will be making any (for lack of a better word) happy movies in the near future.
Cameras will roll on The Ides of March, beginning next February. Look for this pic to be a contender in the 2011 awards season.