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July 19, 2007 |

By Daniel Carlson | Industry | July 19, 2007 |

The entire Valerie Plame debacle was yet another weird moment of personal vendettas made public during the Bush administration, and it’s also oddly symptomatic of the presidency as a whole: You know something bad happened, and you can follow the story pretty easily, but after a while you kind of forget about it because so many other things are piling up, and really who’s got the energy? Well, Rod Lurie does. He’s got it big time. Lurie is set to write and direct Nothing but the Truth, a story about a female journalist in Washington, D.C., who outs a CIA agent in her paper and is jailed for refusing to give up her source. The production is set to start in October, and several cast members are in talks to star as the various members of this distinctly stupid chapter in American history, including Kate Beckinsale as the journalist, Vera Farmiga as the CIA agent, Matt Dillon as the prosecutor, and Alan Alda as the journalist’s attorney. No word yet on who will play the guilty-but-inevitably-pardoned Scooter Libby; I’m thinking John Slattery, but that’s just me. On one hand, I’m a little queasy about current events on film, but then again, Lurie was also responsible for The Contender, a surprisingly engaging political drama, so things might turn out all right in the end.

On to distinctly more Pajibical matters: Noah Baumbach, who’s near and dear to the hearts of many here thanks to his writing and directing Kicking and Screaming and The Squid and the Whale (as well as co-writing The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, which is definitely Wes Anderson’s weakest film, but still pretty good), is next adapting Claire Messud’s novel The Emperor’s Children for the screen, with Ron Howard set to direct. Baumbach’s keen observational tone is probably the right one to adapt Messud’s story of thirtysomethings re-examining their lives in the era surrounding Sept. 11, 2001, but Howard has proven himself to be not so much as storyteller as a transparent salesman of easy emotions. He’s Spielberg Lite: All the heart, none of the absent-father issues. The writer and director don’t seem to be a likely match, but it’s still better than having Whit Stillman do it.

Finally, today’s trailer watch: Tommy Lee Jones. The Coen brothers. Texas. Murder. Money. Shotguns. Blood in the dirt. Really, if that doesn’t sell you on No Country for Old Men, then I don’t know what will. The Coens have made some amazing films, and if we’re lucky, this one will be in the neighborhood of Blood Simple. It hits theaters in November:

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a low-level employee at a Hollywood industry magazine. You can visit his blog, Slowly Going Bald.

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