Rockwell ready to hear Clooney ‘Confessions’

Kidman to also star; Ravitch, Soderbergh to exec produce

NEW YORK — Sam Rockwell has been signed to play Chuck Barris in Miramax’s “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” the George Clooney-directed adaptation of the gameshow magnate’s memoir about how his “Gong Show” empire was a front for his actual job: permanently gonging evildoers as a government assassin. Rockwell joins Nicole Kidman and Clooney, who’ll also play a lead role.

After countless false starts with an array of top-notch stars and directors, one of Hollywood’s strangest-sounding projects will finally get made thanks to the determination of Clooney and producer Andrew Lazar, along with Miramax, which has stepped up to finance the film.

Exec producers will be Rand Ravitch and Steven Soderbergh.

“Being John Malkovich” scribe Charlie Kaufman adapted “Confessions.” At various times such helmers as P.J. Hogan, David Fincher and Bryan Singer were ready to make it and Johnny Depp, Mike Myers, Ben Stiller and Sean Penn orbited the role of Barris.

Despite the promise of those names, the project stalled at multiple studios before it finally found footing at Miramax with Clooney directing (Daily Variety, June 26). Clooney had long wanted to play the role of the CIA operative who recruits the title character and continued to track the film each time it imploded.

Worked with Rockwell

When he got the directing assignment, Clooney considered several top stars, including Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. But Clooney fixed on the versatile Rockwell after working alongside him in a small role in “Welcome to Collinwood.”

Rockwell, a veteran of more than 20 films, hit the studio radar with scene-stealing performances in “The Green Mile,” “Galaxy Quest” and more as the prime villain in “Charlie’s Angels.”

Thesp most recently starred with Danny DeVito, Gene Hackman and Delroy Lindo in the Warner Bros. film “Heist,” which David Mamet wrote and directed. That film had its world premiere Monday night at the Toronto Film Festival and opens Oct. 19.

Rockwell is repped by the Gersh Agency and managed by Andy Freedman.

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