Clooney, Heslov attached to project

Ben Affleck is in negotiations to direct Warner Bros.’ political thriller “Argo,” set up with George Clooney and Grant Heslov.

Project centers on how the CIA, with help from Hollywood and the Canadian embassy, used a fake movie project to smuggle six Americans out of Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis.

“Argo” was set up in 2007 with Clooney and Heslov, who were then based at Warners. Project’s based on a Wired magazine article by Joshuah Bearmna, published in 2007 and titled “How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran.”

The ruse, concocted by CIA operative Tony Mendez, involved launching Studio Six Prods. to rescue the six diplomats who were hiding in the Canadian embassy. The Americans used disguises to pretend they were Canadians on a scouting trip for a big-budget Hollywood epic, titled “Argo.”

Chris Terrio has penned the screenplay for the Clooney-Heslov project, on which David Klawans is also a producer.

Affleck and Matt Damon signed a first-look producing deal at Warner Bros. early last year. Affleck directed and acted in the actioner “The Town” and stars in John Wells’ “The Company Men.”

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