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Clooney to try ‘Luck’ at McCarthy-era pic

‘Ocean’s Twelve’ star co-writing, directing and acting in the film.
/ Source: Hollywood Reporter

George Clooney will direct and star in the McCarthy-era drama “Goodnight, and Good Luck.”

The film will center on CBS News anchor Edward R. Murrow’s legendary on-air confrontations with red-baiting Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the mid-1950s.

The screenplay by Clooney and Grant Heslov traces the true story of how Murrow (David Strathairn) and his producer, Fred Friendly (Clooney), helped bring an end to the tyranny of the blacklist and the House Un-American Activities Committee’s anti-Communist hearings.

With the platform provided by his CBS News program “See It Now,” Murrow challenged McCarthy on his claims that hundreds of avowed Communists were working covertly as Soviet spies in the U.S. government, among other allegations that at the time had the power to destroy lives and careers.

Patricia Clarkson also stars. The Section Eight and 2929 Entertainment production will begin principal photography Feb. 28. The shoot is scheduled for seven weeks in Los Angeles.

Warner Bros. Pictures will release the film domestically.

Clooney and Section Eight, his Warners-based production shingle with Steven Soderbergh, had long been developing a Murrow-themed project as a TV movie. The aim was to stage the drama as a live production for CBS. Clooney spearheaded and starred in the ambitious live telecast of nuclear thriller “Fail Safe” for CBS in April 2000. It was unclear late Friday how the decision came about to shift from a telefilm to feature production.

Clooney directed the Chuck Barris biopic “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” in which he also starred, and is about to hit the big screen again in “Ocean’s Twelve,” directed by Soderbergh.

Strathairn’s credits include “Passion Fish,” “L.A. Confidential” and “Blue Car.” Besides “Goodnight,” his upcoming films are “Woodcutter,” “The Ballad of Bettie Page” and “Heavens Fall.”

Clarkson recently completed work on three films: “Conquistadora,” “The Dying Gaul” and “The Woods.” Her screen credits include “The Station Agent,” “Pieces of April,” “Far From Heaven” and the Section Eight production “Welcome to Collinwood.”