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HindustanTimes Fri,28 Nov 2014

George Clooney to direct film about British phone hacking scandal

AFP  Los Angeles, September 04, 2014
First Published: 12:47 IST(4/9/2014) | Last Updated: 13:28 IST(4/9/2014)

George Clooney is to direct a film about the British phone hacking scandal, the studio behind the project announced on Wednesday.



Hack Attack will be based on the book of the same name by Guardian journalist Nick Davies about the hacking scandal surrounding Rupert Murdoch's news empire, which triggered the demise of its weekly News of the World.

"This has all the elements -- lying, corruption, blackmail -- at the highest levels of government by the biggest newspaper in London," Clooney said, in a statement released by Sony Pictures.

"And the fact that it's true is the best part. Nick is a brave and stubborn reporter and we consider it an honor to put his book to film," he added.

Michael De Luca of Columbia Pictures added: "As the son of a journalist, George has a sharp interest in the role journalism plays in all of our lives. With Hack Attack, George will explore the dark side of that world, a business where all of the rules of journalism are broken in the race for an easy and ever-larger payday," he added.

Shooting on the new movie will begin next year, Sony said. No release date has been set.

Davies spent six years investigating News Corporation and its subsidiary, News International, concluding that they amounted to a world where "Everything is for sale. Nobody is exempt."

The phone-hacking trial was one of the most expensive in English legal history, spotlighting the close ties between the Murdoch empire and politicians and the no-holds-barred methods of Britain's tabloid press.

Those affected included the then Kate Middleton, who is now married to Prince William, James Bond star Daniel Craig and actor Jude Law.

Murdoch shut the News of the World in 2011 after it emerged that what was then Britain's biggest selling paper had illegally accessed the voicemails of a murdered schoolgirl.

In July this year, prosecutors announced charges against Neil Wallis, the paper's former deputy editor, and ex-features editor Jules Stenson.

The announcement comes three weeks after former News of the World editor and Downing Street communications chief Andy Coulson was jailed for 18 months after a lengthy phone hacking trial.

Another former editor of the tabloid, Rebekah Brooks, was cleared of all charges, along with her husband and three other people.

Two-time Academy Award winner Clooney is most well known for roles ranging from 2001's Ocean's Eleven and its sequels to last year's Oscar-winning Gravity.
 
But in the last decade the heartthrob actor has moved behind the camera to direct a number of movies including 2005's Good Night, and Good Luck, 2011's The Ides of March and this year's The Monuments Men.


Clooney will also serve as co-producer on Hack Attack, alongside Grant Heslov with whom he has worked on several previous films through their Smokehouse Pictures production company.

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