Exclusive Media launches project at AFM

George Clooney has signed on to direct and star in “The Ides of March,” an adaptation of the Broadway play “Farragut North.”

Exclusive Media Group and Cross Creek Pictures will finance the pic with George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smoke House Pictures and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way Prods.

Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood are also starring.

Exclusive will handle international distribution and will launch the film to buyers at the American Film Market. Clooney and Heslov, who teamed on penning “Good Night, and Good Luck” have adapted the screenplay with playwright Beau Willimon. Shooting will begin in February in Michigan and Ohio.

“Ides” follows a young press spokesman who falls prey to backroom politics, the treacherous manipulations of veteran operatives and the seduction of a young intern.

Clooney plays a candidate running in the presidential primary race for the Democratic Party ticket. Gosling is set for the role of press spokesman, with Giamatti playing a rival campaign manager. Tomei plays a reporter for the New York Times and Wood portrays an intern for the campaign.

“The Ides of March” will be produced by Smoke House and Appian Way. Exclusive Media co-chairs Guy East and Nigel Sinclair and Cross Creek president Brian Oliver will be financing and co-producing.

“Farragut North” debuted on Broadway in 2008. CAA, which packaged and raised the financing for the feature project, is handling domestic distribution rights.

Exclusive Media Group houses Exclusive Films, Hammer Films, Spitfire Pictures and distributor Newmarket Films. Cross Creek, a film fund formed by Timmy Thompson, Oliver and a consortium of investors from Louisiana and Texas, recently financed “Black Swan.”

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