'Amendment' passes to potential director

Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck in talks to helm thriller

"The 28th Amendment," a long-gestating Warners project about conspiracy and intimidation at the White House, is close to landing a new director.

"The Lives of Others" helmer Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck is in talks to helm the picture, coming on after Neil Jordan had earlier been in discussions to direct. Philip Noyce was previously attached but then fell off.

"Amendment" has been described as "The Firm" set in the White House; its premise is that for a good part of the 20th century, the president has been the puppet of a small, lethal gang that kills anyone who defies its wishes (JFK did and paid the price, according to one iteration of the script).

Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the writing partners behind the "Transformers" franchise and Par's "Star Trek" reboot, wrote the spec on which "Amendment" is based.

Von Donnersmarck's Oscar-winning debut, about a small group of renegades who dare to defy the East German Stasi, has elements reminiscent of those in "Amendment." The director signed with UTA in November.

Denzel Washington has long been attached to star in the thriller. Tom Cruise's name has also surfaced several times in connection with the project, which added intrigue given the actor's success with "The Firm."