George Clooney turns Crisis into comedy

Producing a movie based on a political documentary

Despite the old maxim of truth is stranger than fiction, Warner Brothers is hoping that fiction can be just as odd when it’s based on a particularly weird tale of politics.

The studio has just bought the feature remake rights to Rachel Boynton’s 2006 documentary Our Brand Is Crisis. Never heard of it? Not really surprising as it only screened in a couple of US cities.

Still, it’s an interesting little tale – the documentary follows the Bolivian presidential election of 2002, which saw candidate Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada struggle to get his polling figures up. He hired a US political consulting firm run by firebrand political operative James Carville (who led the team which helped to get Bill Clinton elected originally) and achieved his victory thanks to smear campaigns and slogans.

Things took a dodgier turn when the country collapsed into crisis under his rule and he had to resign. Warners plans to fashion a dark comedy out of the story, hiring British writer Peter Straughan (who has just adapted How To Lose Friends And Alienate People) to churn out the script.

And George Clooney’s Smoke House production company is handling the development, which means he’ll produce and will considering directing and starring, as he is with American football comedy Leatherheads.

Still, Straughan can take his time with the screenplay – given how busy Clooney is, he wouldn’t even consider working on it much before, oh, 2010…