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George Clooney to Direct Movie About U.K. Phone Hacking Scandal

George Clooney has come on to direct “Hack Attack” for Sony Pictures, delving into the hot-button topic of celebrity privacy scandals.

The pic will be an adaptation of journalist Nick Davies’ account of the British phone hacking scandal surrounding Rupert Murdoch’s news empire. The adaptation will be produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslov through their Smokehouse banner for Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“This has all the elements – lying, corruption, blackmail – at the highest levels of government by the biggest newspaper in London,” Clooney said. “And the fact that it’s true is the best part. Nick is a brave and stubborn reporter and we consider it an honor to put his book to film.”

Over six years, Davies investigated News Corp. and its subsidiary, News Intl.; his book shows how their habit of hacking into the voicemail messages of elected officials, celebrities and even ordinary British citizens and the victims of terror attacks was wide-ranging and ongoing. The resulting scandal would not only mark the end of News of the World after 168 years of continuous publication, but also spur a government inquiry that would bring to light some of the most unthinkable of business practices.

Michael De Luca will oversee the project for Sony Pictures. Shooting is scheduled to start next year.

“As the son of a journalist, George has a sharp interest in the role journalism plays in all of our lives – whether that’s for good, as in ‘Good Night, and Good Luck,’ or for bad,” said De Luca. “With ‘Hack Attack,’ George will explore the dark side of that world, a business where all of the rules of journalism are broken in the race for an easy and ever-larger payday.”

“The Monuments Men” grossed $154 million worldwide including $78 million domestically. Clooney most recently wrapped production on the Disney pic “Tomorrowland” directed by Brad Bird.

He is repped by CAA.

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