Peter Morgan leaves 'Relationship'

Richard Loncraine set to direct the movie

Peter Morgan has pulled out as director of the HBO Films/BBC Films movie "The Special Relationship," about the unique and sometimes turbulent political relationship between newly installed British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s.

Richard Loncraine has come on board to direct the project, written by Morgan, who will remain "integrally involved in every aspect of the production" in his role as a writer/executive producer, according to HBO.

No reason was given for Morgan's departure, but the in-demand scribe has just been tapped to co-write the next James Bond picture.

The cast, crew and filming schedule for "Special Relationship," which has been greenlighted for production, remain intact.

Dennis Quaid is on board to play President Clinton, Michael Sheen as Prime Minister Blair, Julianne Moore as Hillary Clinton and Helen McCrory as Cherie Blair.

Morgan is executive producing with Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Andy Harries and Christine Langan.

Frank Doelger, Tracey Scoffield and Ann Wingate serve as producers.

Filming is slated to begin July 20 in London.

"Special Relationship" would've marked Morgan's directorial debut. He penned two Stephen Frears features in which Sheen portrayed Blair, the 2003 "The Deal" and 2006's "The Queen," as well as last year's "Frost/Nixon," where Sheen played David Frost.

Loncraine earned an Emmy Award for his directing work on HBO's mini "Band of Brothers" and Emmy noms for helming two other longform HBO projects, movies "My House in Umbria" and "The Gathering Storm."
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