Entertainment & Arts

Clooney to direct phone-hacking film

George Clooney Image copyright PA
Image caption The Oscar-winning actor is the son of TV journalist Nick Clooney

George Clooney is to direct a film about the phone-hacking scandal which led to the closure of British tabloid the News of the World.

He will direct an adaptation of reporter Nick Davies' book Hack Attack, which follows Davies' investigation into Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

Clooney said it had "all the elements - lying, corruption, blackmail".

"The fact that it's true is the best part."

Davies' book, published earlier this year, followed six years of investigation of News Corporation and News International.

It details how certain British newspapers hacked the telephone voicemails of celebrities, members of the royal family and crime victims to gain private information.

The scandal forced Murdoch to close the News of the World in 2011 after it emerged that the tabloid had illegally accessed the voicemails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

In June, former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was jailed for 18 months for conspiring to hack phones. Ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks was cleared of all charges against her as the long-running phone-hacking trial at the Old Bailey came to an end.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Guardian journalist Nick Davies investigated News International across six years

"As the son of a journalist, George [Clooney] has a sharp interest in the role journalism plays in all of our lives," said Michael De Luca, of Columbia Pictures - the studio behind the forthcoming film.

"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."

Clooney earned an Oscar nomination for best director for his 2006 film Good Night, and Good Luck, about news broadcaster Edward R Murrow. In the same year, he won the best supporting actor Oscar for his role in Syriana.

The 53-year-old will also co-produce the forthcoming movie with partner Grant Heslov through their studio Smokehouse, the company behind 2012's Oscar-winning film Argo, and this year's critically-panned art heist caper The Monuments Men.

Shooting on the film is scheduled to begin next year.

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