Stone taps Newton for cabinet
She'll play Rice, Gruffudd is Blair in Bush bio 'W'The Bush administration is coming together — and adding a key ally for good measure.
Oliver Stone has found the actress to play Condoleezza Rice in his upcoming "W," with Thandie Newton in final negotiations to star as the National Security Advisor-turned-Secretary of State.
Meanwhile, Ioan Gruffudd is in final talks to play British prime minister Tony Blair.
Rice and Blair are the first non-Bush roles to be cast; Josh Brolin, James Cromwell, Elizabeth Banks and Ellen Burstyn previously were cast as George W., George Sr., Laura and Barbara Bush, respectively.
Also notable is the fact that Newton, who was born in Zambia and raised in England, is a Brit, making her the first non-American to be cast for a role in the U.S. administration. Gruffudd also is a Brit.
Newton has previously had roles in "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "Mission: Impossible II." She currently is in Picturehouse's "Run Fat Boy Run" and stars in Guy Ritchie's upcoming mob film "RocknRolla."
Gruffudd, known for turns in "Titanic" and the "Fantastic Four" franchise, stars in the upcoming period fantasy "The Secret of Moonacre."
"W" is expected to start shooting shortly, with QED and Stone's own Ixtlan banner producing and QED financing. Bill Block, Moritz Borman and Jon Kilik are producers.
The movie will look at Bush's formative years and path to the presidency as well as his life inside the White House.
As one of the few cabinet members to serve during both Bush terms, Rice's role in the Bush White House is seen as pivotal. According to those who've read the "W" script, Rice is said to be in a key first scene as well as a number of scenes connected to the Iraq War. Blair also appears in Iraq-related scenes.
Stone has said he wants to draw a fair-minded portrait of the polarizing figure. Sources familiar with the script say Bush is depicted as an easily distracted figure predisposed to personal agendas, though they say the script occasionally shows a more sympathetic side.
Among the key "W" roles yet to be cast are Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and adviser Karl Rove.