George Clooney will direct a film adaptation of the recently released book “Hack Attack: The Inside Story of How the Truth Caught Up With Rupert Murdoch” by Nick Davies of The Guardian, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The book covers Davies’ tortuous, multiyear quest to uncover all the wrongdoing and deception behind the phone-hacking scourge at Rupert Murdoch’s now-shuttered News of the World and other British publications.
Here’s the statement from Clooney: “This has all the elements — lying, corruption, blackmail — at the highest levels of government by the biggest newspaper in London. And the fact that it’s true is the best part. Nick is a brave and stubborn reporter and we consider it an honor to put his book to film.”
Every word of that is true: There’s a load of wrongdoing by all the principals in this mess; celebrities, royals and ordinary folk were targeted by the phone hacking; and Davies is indeed a model of persistence.
None of those considerations, however, keeps “Hack Attack” from reading like a very diligent notebook excavation, reprising phone call after phone call, act of official stonewalling after act of official stonewalling. To boot, the crime at the heart of the book involves private investigators and journalists breaking into people’s voice-mail accounts, extracting information and doing rather plain things with it — like publishing it. That process itself, and the investigative journalism that uncovered it all, happens to be quite tedious.
In other words, good luck with this one. At least Clooney & Co. have that made-for-the-big-screen moment when Rupert Murdoch, in the midst of a parliamentary appearance over the phone-hacking crisis, takes a foam “pie” to the face.