Naomi Watts to co-star in CIA outing drama

Fair Game,” the drama about the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, has come together with Naomi Watts to star, helmer Doug Liman to direct and William Pohlad’s River Road financing.

But the big question is whether Oscar-winning “Milk” star Sean Penn will close a deal to play Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Penn is negotiating but no deal has closed.

Pohlad has a strong relationship with Penn: He was a producer on the Terrence Malick-directed “Tree of Life,” which stars Penn and Brad Pitt, and a producer and financier for “Into the Wild,” which Penn directed.

Plame Wilson’s CIA status was compromised due to a Bush administration leak about her after her husband Joseph Wilson wrote op-ed columns that accused the administration of manipulating intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq.

The project, based on Plame Wilson’s memoir, landed at Pohlad’s River Road after Warner Bros. put the project in turnaround.

Pic is being produced by Weed Road’s Akiva Goldsman and Jerry and Janet Zucker of Zucker Prods.

Warner optioned the book and set Jez and John Butterworth (“Superbad”) to write it at a time when Plame was still vetting the contents of the book with the CIA in 2007. WB decided to let it go, and the filmmakers and their CAA reps set it up with Pohlad.

Plame Wilson left the CIA in 2005, and she and her husband filed a civil suit against Vice President Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and Cheney’s ex-chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Rove and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage admitted that they leaked her agency status to journalists, and Libby was convicted of lying to a federal grand jury about his role in compromising her covert status.

Then-President Bush commuted Libby’s 30-month sentence in 2007 but stopped short of granting him a full pardon despite aggressive lobbying by Cheney before Bush left the White House in January.

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