Documentary reimagined as a dark comedy
Warner Bros. Pictures has scooped up the feature remake rights to Rachel Boynton’s political docu “Our Brand Is Crisis” for George Clooney’s shingle Smoke House to produce and Brit scribe Peter Straughan to adapt.As with any Smoke House project, “Crisis” is a potential directing and starring vehicle for Clooney. Warners and Smoke House, based at the studio, intend to reimagine Boynton’s film — about the dangers of “exporting” American democracy — as a dark comedy. “Crisis” is a behind-the-scenes look at the Bolivian presidential election of 2002, when candidate Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (aka Goni) hired James Carville’s Washington, D.C.-based political consulting firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner to help him win. Goni’s poll numbers were dismal, with Bolivians accusing him of being too closely aligned with U.S. interests. Employing the same tactics they do in the U.S., Carville — who himself flew in — and his team used focus groups, sloganeering and smear tactics. Goni won by a narrow margin, but the work had only just begun for Carville’s team. Bolivia descended into crisis under Goni’s rule, and he was ultimately forced to resign. Producers are Clooney and his Smoke House partner Grant Heslov. Smoke House’s Nina Wolarsky brought in the project. Boynton’s docu, which played in New York and Los Angeles in 2006, was exec produced by Steven Shainberg, Robert Kravis and Sanders Goodstein. Straughan, who has earned strong notices in the U.K., penned the upcoming “Mrs. Ratcliff’s Revolution” for the BBC and Warner Bros. Intl. He’s adapting the Toby Young tome “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People” for Film Four and Michael Collins’ tome “The Resurrectionists” for Miramax and Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack’s Mirage Enterprises. Smoke House projects include “Leatherheads,” which Clooney is directing and starring in. Pic is presently lensing. Creative Artists Agency repped the docu. Straughan is repped by CAA and Casarotto Ramsay & Associates in the U.K.