Posted on Tuesday, August 31st, 2010 by Russ Fischer
We’d heard a few years ago that George Clooney wanted to direct a screen version of the play Farragut North, and there’s a new report that suggests he’s going to do it at last. And possibly with a hell of a cast: Chris Pine, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti may all sign up for a February shoot.
Farragut North was born out of Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign for the Presidential nomination. Author Beau Williamson worked Dean’s campaign, and set his play in Des Moines, Iowa, kicking off just before the Iowa caucuses and following the political maneuvering and backstabbing undertaken to score a nomination for one Democratic candidate.
Vulture reports the cast, and says that Clooney is planning to offer the lead role of twentysomething political mastermind Stephen Meyers to Chris Pine, who played the role in an LA production of the play.
Philip Seymour Hoffman has taken the role of Paul Zara, Meyer’s “veteran boss on the [campaign] trail.” Brad Pitt once had the part earmarked for him, but his schedule forced him out, at which point Hoffman stepped in.
And Giamatti would be the campaign leader for an opposing candidate. Vulture says that offers are out to Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei, who could play a young woman with whom Pine’s character has a liason, and an investigative journalist, respectively. Taken all together, it’s sounding like a hell of a cast, though I’m not wildly eager to revisit the ’04 campaign. Sounds like that’s a minor aspect, however, as the play is more about power and manipulation.
The question is: who’ll finance? Right now, Farragut North is looking like an indie, though with that cast and Clooney directing there’s reason to expect that a distribution deal won’t take too long to come together.
Here’s a rundown of the play from the production that starred Pine:
Set against the backdrop of a close presidential race, Stephen is a young press secretary working for a fast-rising candidate. With confidence and power beyond his years, he’s convinced that he and seasoned campaign manager, Paul, can steer their team into the west wing without breaking a sweat. But before the polls close at the primaries, Stephen’s perceived invincibility is shattered as he falls prey to backroom politics, the manipulations of veteran operatives and the wiles of a seductive young intern. With quick-witted banter and an inside look into the world of politics, Farragut North is a timely tale of hubris, loyalty and the lust for power.