Clooney finds partners in crime

Thesp to star in 'Jazz,' direct 'Boys'

George Clooney is booked solid through 2009.

He has committed to direct “The Belmont Boys,” a heist movie that will reteam him with “Oceans Thirteen” producer Jerry Weintraub and scribes Brian Koppelman and David Levien.

Clooney will helm the pic after starring in “White Jazz,” the Warner Independent Pictures adaptation of the James Ellroy novel, which Clooney and Smoke House partner Grant Heslov have boarded as producers. Matthew Michael Carnahan wrote the script.

Both pictures will happen in 2008. In “White Jazz,” Clooney will play a dirty LAPD vice squad lieutenant whose mastery at skirting the rules gets tested when he’s set up by his crooked bosses to be the fall guy for a murder. Carnahan’s script “Lions for Lambs” recently hooked Tom Cruise, Robert Redford and Meryl Streep and whose adaptation of the British miniseries “State of Play” has Brad Pitt circling at Universal.

“White Jazz” will begin production in early 2008, and Clooney will follow with a re-team with Weintraub, for whom he’s played Danny Ocean three times.

“The Belmont Boys” follows seven thieves who first meet at the horse track and nearly pull off the job of a lifetime. They reunite 30 years later, to finish what they started.

The film will shoot in the U.S. and Europe. The scribes penned “Runaway Jury” and “Rounders,” and were producers on the Edward Norton-starrer “The Illusionist.” Weintraub is mobilizing a remake of “Oh God!,” among other projects at WB.

Both projects have to wait until 2008 because Clooney is booked solid.

He will next direct and will star with Renee Zellweger in “Leatherheads,” the Universal romantic comedy that is set in the backdrop of ’20s pro football. He’ll follow later next year with the Focus/Working Title pic “Burn After Reading,” a film that re-teams Clooney with Joel and Ethan Coen, with whom he made “Intolerable Cruelty” and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

Aside from “Ocean’s Thirteen,” Clooney opens soon in the Steven Soderbergh-directed “The Good German” and the Tony Gilroy-directed “Michael Clayton.”

He’s repped by CAA.

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