In the real world, becoming the President of the United States requires years, if not decades, of fundraising and touring and giving speeches and trying to keep your private life squeaky clean (or at least super, super secretive). But in Hollywood, they apparently just hand out presidencies like candy.

Charlie Sheen ascended to the highest office in the land earlier this week, joining Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills, while Jamie Foxx landed a similar gig in Roland Emmerich’s White House Down a few weeks ago. Now Aaron Eckhart is becoming a commander-in-chief as well, in Antoine Fuqua‘s White House Down. More details after the jump.

Eckhart joins lead Gerard Butler, who plays a retired Secret Service agent. The script, by first-timers Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt, sees Butler’s character called back into action when terrorists take over 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and he becomes the only man who can save the day. If that sounds eerily familiar, that may be because the plot shares more than a few similarities with White House Down, the otherDie Hard in the White House” movie in the works.

Eckhart’s a reliably solid, versatile talent, so without knowing much about his White House Down character, I can only assume he’s a good pick for this part as well. We’ve seen him play charming political types before, most notably Thank You For Smoking‘s smooth-as-butter lobbyist and The Dark Knight‘s Harvey Dent. (Coincidentally, the new gig pits Eckhart against his former The Dark Knight love interest Maggie Gyllenhaal, who recently signed on for Emmerich’s movie.) Eckhart’s other upcoming parts include the comic book adaptation I, Frankenstein, the Beach Boys biopic The Drummer, and the fairy tell retelling Pan.

We’ve been wondering whether one of two movies would eventually yield to the other, but at least for now it looks like neither has any intention of backing down. From the outside, however, Emmerich’s project looks more organized — it’s a little bit ahead on the casting front at this point, and already has a set release date of November 1, 2013.

No opening date for White House Down has been released at this time, though we expect it’ll hit sometime next year. As of this spring, White House Down was hoping to start shooting this summer, but it’s unclear if those plans have changed.

[Source: Variety]

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