Double play for Clooney at Warners


George Clooney will earn his stripes with the Warner Bros. family. The actor-director-producer has signed on to two high-profile projects with Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Independent Pictures.

First, Clooney is set to star in and produce "White Jazz," an adaptation of a James Ellroy novel, for WIP. He then will reteam with his "Ocean's Eleven" producer Jerry Weintraub to direct the heist movie "Belmont Boys" for Warners.

"Jazz," which Clooney will produce with his Smokehouse producing partner Grant Heslov, will be directed by Joe Carnahan from a script by his brother Matthew Carnahan ("The Kingdom"). "Jazz" is the last volume of what is known as Ellroy's "L.A. quartet" of crime novels, which includes "L.A. Confidential," "The Big Nowhere" and "The Black Dahlia."

In "Jazz," Clooney will star as a corrupt police lieutenant assigned to a potentially explosive case for the Los Angeles Police Department during a time when the department is under investigation for corruption.

Patrick Cheh, Diane Nabatoff, Clark Peterson and Michelle Grace will produce the project.

"Jazz" is a Cherry Road co-production, with the company financing the development of the project. Bo Hyde and Kendall Morgan Rhodes of Cherry Road will serve as executive producers. Paul Federbush will oversee the project for WIP.

WIP is looking for an early 2008 start date.

"Belmont Boys," written by "Ocean's Thirteen" writers Brian Koppelman and David Levien, is the name of a group of seven thieves who meet as railbirds at the racetrack in the old days and almost pull off the job of a lifetime. Now, 30 years later, they are thrown back together to finish what they started.

The film will take place in the U.S. and locations throughout Europe, with Clooney and Weintraub already in discussions with seven major actors for the lead roles.

Weintraub said the movie will not be an "Ocean's" retread and that the actors will be much older, "though all big stars."

Kevin McCormick will oversee "Boys" for Warners.

Clooney's calendar is all tied up through 2008. He is set to star in Joel and Ethan Coen's upcoming film, "Burn After Reading," for Focus Features after he helms "Leatherheads," a football movie he is directing and starring in for Universal Pictures. Shooting for "Leatherheads" is to start in the spring, and Clooney's producing partner Heslov is producing via Smokehouse along with Casey Silver.

Clooney will move on to "Jazz" in early 2008 before tackling "Boys" at the end of that year.

The CAA-repped Clooney made his directorial debut in 2002 with "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" and earned an Oscar nomination last year for best director for "Good Night, and Good Luck." He won the best supporting actor Oscar in 2006 for "Syriana."

"George deserves to be busy," Weintraub said. "He's a good guy. He's my dear friend and a great artist."