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Clooney directing Enron film

Enron.jpgGeorge Clooney is set to direct an adaptation of the successful stage play about the energy company Enron which depicts the rise and fall of the company that was once the seventh largest corporation in the United States.

However with the film adaptation comes changes, and none of the stage cast are accompanying the story to the big screen, at least not yet as let's be honest, casting is a long way off, but there is one person being taken across the water.

Rupert Goold is the man who directed the play which he took some three years to develop the stage version which Lucy Prebble wrote. It premièred at the Chichester Festival Theatre in July 2009 and continued on until May 2010 where it closed at the Noel Coward Theatre.

Enron carried a strong cast starring Amandra Drew, Tim Pigott-Smith, Samuel West and Tom Goodman-Hill playing Claudia Roe, Kenneth Lay, Jeffrey Skilling and Andy Fastow respectively. It was nominated for several awards including a few performance and actor nominations for West and best play for Prebble, and won Best New Play in the Theatrical Management Association, Best Director in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

What's interesting is that the play never went down well in America. Goold directed the Broadway version that appeared in April 2010 and closed in May after some scathing reviews, reviews that were complete polar opposite to the reviews it received in the UK.

However George Clooney saw the potential for the film version, and with that he's taking across Lucy Prebble to write the screenplay, or at least the first draft, for the film that he will direct.

The article in the Observer through Coming Soon does make a big deal of the fact that the film isn't taking the cast or the director of the stage play, something I'm a little confused about. Right now the script is being written, and that's the first stab at the script, why would casting be a priority at this point?

The article is suggesting that Rupert Goold isn't too happy with the way things have worked out.

”How do you compete with George Clooney?”

Well you could understand why, he spent three years developing the stage play and then when he took it to America the press were overly critical of it and no doubt helped in the play being closed down. Interestingly Prebble is very open to the film version:

”Once you've done something… you've done it. Let that stand on its own...This is an American story.”

Errmm, yes, didn't you write the stage play? The one that was on the British stage and did so well? Was that not the same story? I'm a little confused by that comment.

The article has Philip Hedley, former director of the Theatre Royal Stratford East, saying:

”It's a great shame that the original talent hasn't been able to follow through, to put on to film what they've originally created.”

Well it's early days yet, and I'm sure that the casting hasn't really started yet, but an anonymous quote from another stage director says:

”Everything works on celebrity and famous names.”

Yes, it does, it's Hollywood. Let's be fair, stage and screen are different and it's not always that we see the stage actors leaping onto film, neither is it often we see them leaping onto a major Hollywood production from Britain to America. I'm not saying it's right, but I'm also not saying it's right that they should just take the stage cast and throw them into the film. Mind you, the British cast have done their fair share of television and film acting.

I can understand why Clooney would be looking to Hollywood for his cast, it's Clooney, a big production, and there are some great actors there who I'm sure he'll give a chance to.

The producer Laura Ziskin has joined with Clooney to get the rights to the story and bring it to Hollywood, and she says another strange thing about the whole story, speaking about why the play might have failed in America she said:

”Maybe Americans didn't want that mirror held up to them at that moment.”

Is it going to be any easier now? Perhaps with Clooney's version it just might be more palatable as Hollywood actors join the production.



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