When we first heard from the long- gestating project, Leonardo DiCaprio had been reading with an eye on the lead, and then it appeared that Chris Pine -- who played the lead in the 2009 West Coast stage version of the play at the Geffen House -- could take the part of a 25-year-old press secretary for a Democratic presidential candidate who remains an invisible presence throughout. Eventually however, Clooney tapped quickly rising Canadian star Ryan Gosling to take the part.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei had all been in talks at various stages to take roles in the film and apparently all of those names have stuck besides Hoffman, according to Deadline. What's more, the film has acquired financing via Exclusive Media Group chairman Guy East and Nigel Sinclair along with Cross Creek Pictures president Brian Oliver. Sony Pictures Entertainment are apparently interested in picking up the political drama, but despite the stellar cast, it could be more suited to Sony's specialty division, Sony Pictures Classics.
Co-written by Clooney, his Smokehouse productions partner (and "Men Who Stare At Goats" director) Grant Heslov, and Willimon, the film, like the play, is loosely based on the 2004 Democratic primary run of Howard Dean, and "the story is set in Des Moines, Iowa, just weeks before the state’s Democratic caucuses officially commence; it follows the exploits of a twenty-something presidential campaign spinmeister/wunderkind named Stephen Myers (Gosling's character), and the dirty pool he plays to get his candidate the nomination against a rival senator (Clooney)."
Giamatti will play a rival campaign manager, Tomei's turn will be of a New York Times reporter, and Wood's role is of an intern for the campaign. Chris Noth and Olivia Thirlby were part of the same stage version that Pine starred in. The February shoot will take place in Michigan and Ohio. Put this one way high up there on our most anticipated 2012 (or 2011, if we're very lucky) list).