Cromwell, Burstyn to play Bush Sr., Barbara

Director Oliver Stone has set James Cromwell to play George Herbert Walker Bush and Ellen Burstyn to play former first lady Barbara Bush in “W,” a drama about the formative years of their son, President George W. Bush.

Josh Brolin is playing the title character, and Elizabeth Banks will play first lady Laura Bush.

Stone will direct from a script by his “Wall Street” co-writer Stanley Weiser. Moritz Borman is producing with Bill Block and Jon Kilik.

Block’s QED International is financing the film, which will begin shooting Shreveport, La., at the end of April.

Cromwell recently made another fact-based foray in a film about an iconic political figure: He played Prince Philip alongside Helen Mirren in “The Queen.”

Stone was calling the project “Bush” when he began showing it to buyers (Daily Variety, Jan. 21), but the filmmakers are now calling it “W.” The film is expected to be ready for distribution possibly by the November presidential elections and certainly before Bush leaves the White House in January.

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