As we’ve talked about The Ides of March, which George Clooney will soon direct based on the play Farragut North by Beau Williamson, the lingering question has been: who will distribute? Now the film has a studio backer, as Sony has bought North American distribution rights to the film.

The studio will release The Ides of March in a limited theatrical run in December 2011, with a wide release to follow in January 2012. So: get the picture out there in time to qualify for Oscar, but not so much that it really has to directly compete with the other slate of December 2011 releases. Interesting: the trade says Sony wanted to use the play’s title, Farragut North, rather than The Ides of March, with the reason cited being the  recognizance of the title. But Mr. Clooney won out, and the film will use The Ides of March for now.

Variety reiterates the cast we’ve known, so Ryan Gosling will play Stephen Meyers, the young campaign mastermind to Governor Morris (George Clooney), who is campaigning for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Paul Giamatti is a rival candidate’s campaign leader. Marisa Tomei plays a New York Times reporter and Evan Rachel Wood an intern with whom Ryan Gosling’s character has a liason. When the project was first announced, Philip Seymour Hoffman was said to be locked as the campaign boss for Governor Morris, but he wasn’t confirmed by a prior press release, and isn’t mentioned by the trade. So he may not end up in the picture. George Clooney wrote the script with frequent creative partner Grant Heslov.

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