Overture to get Clooney's 'Goats'

Project is first major deal at Cannes fest

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CANNES -- Overture on Monday locked up rights to the star-driven "The Men Who Stare at Goats" at the Festival de Cannes.

After sources indicated earlier in the day that an Overture deal was in place, some insiders said another player was in the mix. Several hours later, Overture sent out an announcement that it had bought the project.

The deal marks the first major buy at either the festival or the Cannes market, which has until now yielded extreme caution on both the domestic and international acquisitions side. But the George Clooney starrer, which marks the directorial debut of longtime Clooney collaborator Grant Heslov, has been one of the hotter market projects in Cannes.

CAA packaged and sold the satire, in which Ewan MacGregor stars as a reporter who comes across a solider (Clooney) who reveals that the U.S. Army is using paranormal techniques in Iraq. Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges co-star, Peter Straughan wrote the screenplay and Clooney, Heslov and Paul Lister produced.

The movie, which is in post and expected to be ready for a potential late '09 or early '10 release, is based on journalist Jon Ronson's book. Overture topper Chris McGurk called it a "hilarious and intelligent movie we think will captivate audiences."