One of the great many films that seems like a strong 2011 festival prospect is George Clooney‘s The Ides of March, which adapts Beau Williams‘ play Farragut North. Now the film has been tabbed as the opening selection for the Venice Film Festival, and will therefore premiere on August 31.

That’ll probably be in time for the movie to still seem like it is particularly well-timed, as the play and movie are both inspired by events in Howard Dean’s 2004 Presidential primary campaign, but augmented with the scandal of sexual impropriety. So as it turns out, the last weeks of Anthony Weiner’s political career could be this movie’s best advance marketing. And it can always be promoted on the strength of a stellar cast: Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, Max Minghella and Evan Rachel Wood.

Mr. Clooney co-wrote the film with his producing partner Grant Heslov. Here’s the play’s synopsis:

Stephen is a wunderkind press secretary who has built a career that men twice his age would envy. During a tight presidential primary race, however, Stephen’s meteoric rise falls prey to the backroom politics of more seasoned operatives, and his one night stand with a teenage staffer proves to be more complicated than casual. Farragut North is a classic tale of hubris set against a contemporary landscape – about the lust for power and the costs one will endure to achieve it.

The Ides of March is already set to open in the US on October 14, 2011.

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