George Clooney has identified his next project to direct: an adaptation of the book Hack Attack, journalist Nick Davies' account of the British phone hacking scandal surrounding Rupert Murdoch's news empire. The adaptation will be produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslov through their Smokehouse banner for Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Commenting on the announcement, Michael De Luca, president of Production for Columbia Pictures, had this to say.
"As the son of a journalist, George has a sharp interest in the role journalism plays in all of our lives - whether that's for good, as in Good Night, And Good Luck., or for bad. 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."
"This has all the elements - lying, corruption, blackmail - at the highest levels of government by the biggest newspaper in London. 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."
Hack Attack depicts a world where, as Davies writes, "Everything is for sale. Nobody is exempt." Over six years, Davies investigated News Corporation and its subsidiary, News International; his book shows how their habit of hacking into the voice mail messages of elected officials, celebrities, and even ordinary British citizens and the victims of terror attacks was wide-ranging and ongoing. The resulting scandal would not only mark the end of News of the World after 168 years of continuous publication, but spur a government inquiry that would bring to light some of the most unthinkable of business practices.
De Luca will oversee the project for Sony Pictures. Shooting is scheduled to start next year.