Match for ‘Monty’

Hopkins to helm Clift biopic for Newman/Tooley

Billy Hopkins, best known as a casting director for such feature films as “The Rock and “Nixon,” has signed on to direct “Monty,” an indie production telling the story of the life of thesp Montgomery Clift.

Hopkins has extensive Off Broadway theater directing credits and recently helmed his first feature, “I Love You, I Love You Not,” starring Jeanne Moreau and Claire Danes, to be released this fall by Miramax.

The screenplay follows Clift’s life from the start of his Hollywood career in 1947 to his death in 1966, and will involve his contemporaries, such as Frank Sinatra, John Wayne and Elizabeth Taylor.

Producers Vincent Newman and Tucker Tooley, principals of Newman/Tooley Films, acquired the “Monty” script in June.

“Now our priority is to find a toplist actor to play the Monty role,” Newman said, but he declined to name which actors are being offered the role. The pic will have a budget of $7 million to $10 million, he said.

First-time writer Michael Easton penned the original script. Easton is himself an actor, who appears in the syndicated cable series “Two,” about twins, and is now starring in Fox TV’s new Damon Wayans project, “413 Hope St.”

“I’ve read other material about Montgomery Clift, but I feel Michael’s script succeeds best dramatically, as well as affording proper reverence to Monty’s incredible talent and the impact he’s made on virtually every real actor since his time,” Hopkins said.

Clift, who was 45 when he died, starred in such landmark films as “A Place in the Sun,” “From Here to Eternity,” “Giant,” “The Misfits” and “Red River.” He was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for a stunning single-scene performance in “Judgment at Nuremberg.”

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