Peter Morgan exits HBO ‘Special’

'Frost/Nixon' scribe was slated to direct telepic

Peter Morgan is bowing out as director of HBO telepic “The Special Relationship,” revolving around the turbulent political relationship in the 1990s between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Clinton.

He’ll be replaced by Brit helmer Richard Loncraine, HBO confirmed Tuesday.

Morgan, who earned Oscar noms for his screenplays for “The Queen” and “Frost/Nixon,” wrote the script for “Relationship,” and he remains onboard as an exec producer. He was to have made his directing debut on the project.

Morgan was recently enlisted to co-write the next James Bond pic (Daily Variety, June 15).

“Relationship” has a high-wattage cast, with Dennis Quaid set to play Clinton and Michael Sheen as Blair. Julianne Moore and Helen McCrory will play spouses Hillary Clinton and Cherie Blair, respectively. The BBC is co-producing with HBO. Morgan, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Andy Harries and Christine Langan are exec producers. Pic is slated to begin shooting in London next month.

Loncraine is no stranger to HBO, having helmed the pay cabler’s 2003 telepic “My House in Umbria” and an episode of the 2001 mini “Band of Brothers.” His feature credits include the 2006 Harrison Ford starrer “Firewall” and the upcoming Renee Zellweger comedy “My One and Only.”

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