George Clooney to take on Rupert Murdoch in film about British phone-hacking scandal
George Clooney has Rupert Murdoch in his sights. The "Descendants" star has signed on to helm an adaptation of "Hack Attack," a recent book by Nick Davies that dissects the British phone-hacking scandal which implicated Murdoch's News International subsidiary and led to the shuttering of long-running U.K. tabloid "News of the World," according to Deadline. Clooney will also produce the Sony project alongside his Smokehouse Pictures partner Grant Heslov.
“This has all the elements — lying, corruption, blackmail — at the highest levels of government by the biggest newspaper in London,” said Clooney in a statement. “And the fact that it’s true is the best part. Nick is a brave and stubborn reporter and we consider it an honor to put his book to film.”
Added Sony production president Michael De Luca: “As the son of a journalist, George has a sharp interest in the role journalism plays in all of our lives — whether that’s for good, as in 'Good Night, And Good Luck,' or for bad. With 'Hack Attack,' George will explore the dark side of that world, a business where all of the rules of journalism are broken in the race for an easy and ever-larger payday.”
Davies' book is the culmination of a six-year investigation conducted by the author that uncovered multiple instances of "News of the World" journalists hacking into the phones of celebrities, politicians and even victims of terrorist attacks. The allegations eventually erupted in 2011, leading to the arrest and eventual conviction of several former "News of the World" employees including one-time editor Andy Coulson.
The film is slated to begin production next year.
Clooney's last directorial effort was all-star WWII drama "The Monuments Men," which suffered from lackluster reviews but still managed to gross over $150 million worldwide. His other films as director include "The Ides of March," "Leatherheads," "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" and 2005's "Good Night, and Good Luck," which scored a total of six Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Director for Clooney.