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George Clooney and Grant Heslov to Produce THE $700 BILLION MAN; Clooney Might Direct

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George Clooney and Grant Heslov to Produce THE $700 BILLION MAN; Clooney Might Direct

Post by lolo"layla" on Thu Apr 14 2011, 06:46

the-700-billion-man-slice

George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s production company Smoke House Pictures is developing a film about the Wall Street bailout, based on the 2009 Washington Post article “The $700 Billion Man.” Said man is Neel Kashkari, the steward of $700 billion set aside for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in 2008 to bail out failing banks following economic collapse. The experience wrecked Kashkari. He resigned after 7 months in Washington, D.C. and moved to a remote cabin in Northern California.

According to Variety, Clooney is considering The $700 Billion Man as a possible directing vehicle. Zach Helm (Stranger Than Fiction) will write the script. Read more about the story after the jump.

The Washington Post article by Laura Blemenfeld picks up when Kashkari is six months into what he refers to as a “Washington detox” program. His role in the federal bailout is told in retrospect as a brand of war story. I wonder where Helm will enter the story. My guess: the movie opens on a fresh-faced Kashkari on his first day on the job. The drama climaxes with Kashkari, now a destroyed shell of a man, handing in his resignation. Close with a coda of Neel Kashkari: Mountain Man. Blumenfeld encapsulates that arc pretty well herself:



It all began as it ended, abruptly. Kashkari was a 35-year-old business school graduate from a suburb of Akron, Ohio, who had gone to Washington in 2006 to learn how government worked. Then came the recession, and through a freakish set of circumstances, mixing pluck, cataclysm and luck, he was appointed by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson as the federal bailout chief.

Suddenly, he was in charge of $700 billion.

Congress savaged him. Wall Street Journal editorials doubted him. His home-town buddies urged him to use the money to buy the Cleveland Browns and fire the coaches. His wife spoke to him so rarely, she described them as “dead to each other.” He lost sleep, gained weight and saw a close adviser, Don Hammond, suffer a heart attack at his Treasury desk. On May 1, after serving seven months under Presidents Bush and Obama, he resigned.

My favorite excerpt from the article is this quote from Kashkari:

“Seven hundred billion was a number out of the air. It was a political calculus. I said, ‘We don’t know how much is enough. We need as much as we can get [from Congress]. What about a trillion?’ ‘No way,’ Hank shook his head. I said, ‘Okay, what about 700 billion?’ We didn’t know if it would work. We had to project confidence, hold up the world. We couldn’t admit how scared we were, or how uncertain.”

I know “It was a political calculus” lacks the marketable punch to be a tagline, but that hypothetical poster would go straight up on my wall and never come down.

Clooney is currently directing Ryan Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymor Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, and himself in the political drama The Ides of March, scheduled for release October 14. As an actor with no hyphen, Clooney has Alexander Payne’s The Descendants in the can and set for December 16. Next, Clooney will reunite with Stephen Soderbergh for an adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and film a small but crucial role in the Alfonso Cuarón space thriller Gravity.

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Re: George Clooney and Grant Heslov to Produce THE $700 BILLION MAN; Clooney Might Direct

Post by lolo"layla" on Thu Apr 14 2011, 06:53

I wonder if George Clooney gets MSNBC in his dreams. With all the political movies he makes, from Syriana to Darfur Now to the upcoming Ides of March, you’d think he was… I don’t know… running for some kind of political thing? Publicly, he says “no,” but I bet Clooney has a secret room in his mansion that looks exactly like the Oval Office. Maybe he hires pretend staffers to run around and everything.

So, naturally, Clooney is adding more political crutons to his filmography salad. (What a strange analogy.) He will produce a film based on “The $700 Billion Man,” a Washington Post article by Laura Blumenfeld. “$700 Billion Man” is about the real life story of TARP manager Neel Kashkari, a man relatively inexperienced in politics who suddenly found himself in charge of the ginormous 2008 financial bailout. He was later “shellacked” by Congress and went off the Washington grid, moving to a remote cabin in Northern California with his family. The lesson? Never agree to be in charge of $700 billion dollars, unless you can spend it all on a kickass theme park that’s just for you.

Though Clooney is set to produce, we don’t know whether or not he’ll direct.

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Re: George Clooney and Grant Heslov to Produce THE $700 BILLION MAN; Clooney Might Direct

Post by Dexterdidit on Thu Apr 14 2011, 07:55

LOL I'm an idiot when I first read the title I thought it was an inflated priced version of the Six Million Dollar Man and was thinking George wouldn't do that. So blonde... More politics geez, I'm just not that into politics to care enough. I wish he would do a murder mystery or something anything but this boring stuff. I watched some of Men who stare at goats but gave up before I could see the goats. Which oddly enough I was most looking forward to seeing! George with a mo and a girls name just doesn't do it for me.

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Re: George Clooney and Grant Heslov to Produce THE $700 BILLION MAN; Clooney Might Direct

Post by Katiedot on Thu Apr 14 2011, 08:01

See, this sounds interesting. I guess because I can see it as a kind of black comedy, something the Coen bros might do.

Ah well, if it's still being talked about, it'll probably take forever before it appears, if it ever makes it past development and into production.

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Re: George Clooney and Grant Heslov to Produce THE $700 BILLION MAN; Clooney Might Direct

Post by Lighterside on Thu Apr 14 2011, 14:26

So instead of having a political career himself, he's going to chronicle some of the most explosive political situations in our recent history....sounds like a good compromise to me.

He seems very invested in the political arena and knowing how he's lived his life prior to this, it seems like a good way to voice his own political points of view and his vision for the country, without having to run for office. Sometimes you can be more effective in getting your message out without preaching to the choir by producing thought provoking films for your intended audience to reflect on. Win/win!

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Re: George Clooney and Grant Heslov to Produce THE $700 BILLION MAN; Clooney Might Direct

Post by melbert on Thu Apr 14 2011, 15:33

Didn't he once say that rather than be in a political office he can do more with his celebrity in getting things in the limelight and bringing a force to an issue? I know I'm paraphrasing, but like Lighter said above "Sometimes you can be more effective in getting your message out without preaching to the choir by producing thought provoking films for your intended audience to reflect on. Win/win!"

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Re: George Clooney and Grant Heslov to Produce THE $700 BILLION MAN; Clooney Might Direct

Post by blubelle on Thu Apr 14 2011, 21:25

IMO his best work has been his films that have a message. From Three Kings to GNAGL. This film is what got me interested in his career. I thought the movie was brilliant and that this guy (GC) had a brain in his head and could direct. He has said he didn't want to be known as the guy that makes message movies. He has tried other venues but hasn't been all that successful, which is why I'm looking forward to IOM. Yes, the adventure, special effects films rake in the bucks, but they cost big bucks to make. Someone has to make films that appeal to an audience that is looking for a good story with a message. This just might be his forte.

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Re: George Clooney and Grant Heslov to Produce THE $700 BILLION MAN; Clooney Might Direct

Post by sisieq on Fri Apr 15 2011, 03:16

blubelle wrote: Someone has to make films that appeal to an audience that is looking for a good story with a
message. This just might be his forte.
Good post!!!

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Re: George Clooney and Grant Heslov to Produce THE $700 BILLION MAN; Clooney Might Direct

Post by playfuldeb on Fri Apr 15 2011, 03:19

I thought the same thing you did Dexter!


One day they may use George's films in history classes. Beats reading books.

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Re: George Clooney and Grant Heslov to Produce THE $700 BILLION MAN; Clooney Might Direct

Post by Katiedot on Fri Apr 15 2011, 04:41

I'm with Sam Goldwyn on this one: if you want to send a message, use DHL (forgive the paraphrasing).

I'm not so stupid or uneducated that I need to go to the cinema for an overpaid movie star to give me a message because it makes him feel meaningful.

The most important part of a film, in fact the whole point of a film, is whether or not it entertains you. No film maker should set out to educate an audience as his main reason for making the film.

Most films come with a message and I don't have a problem with that, as long as it's not ham fistedly forced down my throat. Look at Frost/Nixon for example which was a great film, or The King's Speech. Based on real life yes, educational, yes, but made by film makers who love film and whose first aim was to make a good film.

The genre of film is entertainment. The genre of education is education. It's a terrifying world if the two are confused.

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Re: George Clooney and Grant Heslov to Produce THE $700 BILLION MAN; Clooney Might Direct

Post by blubelle on Fri Apr 15 2011, 16:40

Eliminating documentaries which are made to educate, I don't see any conflict between message films and education. I agree that films that force feed a point of view can make me uneasy. But those that make people aware of issues such as Blood Diamond, GNGL, The Kings Speech and many more serve both purposes. Unfortunately keeping up with relevant issues isn't always a priority of many. I'm not sure that actors take these roles to feel meaningful. I think that often the scripts are well written and oscars are sometimes their reward.

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Re: George Clooney and Grant Heslov to Produce THE $700 BILLION MAN; Clooney Might Direct

Post by Snoopy on Sat Apr 16 2011, 02:53

I am a big fan of Syriana, I think it gave a person alot to think about. Do we really know what our politicians have done in the Middle East or private US corporations?

I do hope he makes the 700 billion man, although like Dexderdidit, I also thought it was the 6 million dollar man remake using 2010 dollars!

Looking forward to the Enron movie, but I don't see how you can fit in all the details in less than two hours. I have read multiple books on Enron and will enjoy seeing how they condense it without losing key points.

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Re: George Clooney and Grant Heslov to Produce THE $700 BILLION MAN; Clooney Might Direct

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