Tom Cruise is throwing a Hail Mary pass to get the Warner Bros. comedy El Presidente made.
Presidente is about a straight-arrow Secret Service agent who is assigned to protect America’s worst former president, an alcoholic and womanizing sleazebag who was elevated from VP when the president died. When a threat is made on his life, the duo must go on the run.
The project has been in development since 2010 and originally had Jay Roach attached to direct. The studio initially hoped that Jack Nicholson would be involved but it never came to pass, and later the project was eyed as a potential Robert Downey Jr. vehicle.
Now The Hollywood Reporter has learned that not only has Doug Liman come aboard to direct the project (he worked with Cruise on Warners’ sci-fi action movie Edge of Tomorrow, which will be released next year), but that he and Cruise have made a last-ditch effort to court Nicholson to play the former president.
Sources say that last week, Cruise and Liman went to Nicholson’s Hollywood Hills home to convince the 76-year-old semi-retired and extremely picky actor to take the role (Nicholson last starred in 2010’s How Do You Know). Cruise told Nicholson, with whom he starred in the 1992 classic A Few Good Men, that he won’t do the movie without him.
It’s too early to say if the sit-down proved effective, but insiders say the end result was that Nicholson agreed to at least read the script, which was written by Jesse Armstrong and Daniel J. Goor and rewritten by Paul Attanasio.