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George Clooney's Great Escape




Star to produce "Escape from Tehran" based on Joshuah Bearman's True Hollywood Hoax


Escape from Tehran
film project to be based on Joshuah Bearman's
Wired magazine article ©Photo Composition Darius KADIVAR


This could have been a perfect plot for Danny Ocean and his Band of as a sequel to Ocean’s 13 were it not based on a factual Hollywood Hoax that took place in the dark days of the Islamic Revolution nearly 28 years ago …

George Clooney and his Smoke House partner Grant Heslov will co-write a dramedy (Comedy & Drama) for Warner Bros. Pictures detailing how the CIA, with help from Hollywood, used a fake movie project to smuggle a handful of Americans out of Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis.



 Hollywood Hoax: Original storyboards of the CIA plot to save US Hostages
© Joshuah Bearman's Wired magazine article

Warners has snapped up the film rights to Joshuah Bearman's Wired magazine article on the real-life intelligence tale and set it up with Smoke House to produce.


As with any Smoke House project, "Escape From Tehran" is a potential directing and starring vehicle for Clooney.


The project is the first Heslov and Clooney have penned together since 2005's "Good Night, and Good Luck”. Bearman's article in the current issue of Wired centers around CIA operative Tony Mendez, a master of disguise who was put in charge of rescuing six Americans hiding out in Tehran. He came up with the idea of using a bogus movie and contacted Hollywood makeup artist John Chambers.


Chambers and Bob Sidell, also a makeup artist, launched Studio Six Prods. (an allusion to the six Americans awaiting rescue) and announced their first movie project, to be shot in Iran. Both Variety and the Hollywood Reporter were duped into writing news stories on the film after Studio Six took out trade ads.


Mendez went to Tehran in January 1980 and told the Americans to pretend they were Canadians on a scouting trip for a big-budget Hollywood epic. The ruse worked.


Smokehouse VP Nina Wolarsky brought in "Escape." David Klawans ("Nacho Libre") is attached to produce.



Clooney wanted to Portray Persian Emperor Xerxes
but in another version
of the epic battle
©Warner Bros.& imdb


George Clooney seems to have a hook on Iranians/Persians since he was to initially produce the screen adaptation of Steven Pressfields “The Gates of Fire” about the famous Battle of Thermopylae which was finally abandoned since Warner Bros. Decided to make the now infamous movie 300 directed by Zack Snyder. According to an interview given to the Guardian in 2003, Clooney wanted to Portray Persian Emperor Xerxes in the Epic movie with Michael Mann as director.  Also Escape from Tehran is the 2nd adventure for George Clooney that takes him to Iran. The latest being Syriana which begins with a key scene in Tehran. It was particularly interesting to see a depiction of Iranians in the movie which was quite different from the regular stereotypes the West is used too.


George Clooney & Grant Heslov team up a 2nd time for Smoke House
after the critically acclaimed movie Good Night and Good Luck (2005).
© Smoke House


According to The movie is due in 2009 and pre-production has probably started. Actors and extras for Screen Test should contact Smoke House Company (See Address & Phone Below) if interested once production begins.


Author’s Notes:


George Clooney's Production Company:


Smoke House

c/o Warner Bros.

4000 Warner Blvd., Bldg. 15
Burbank, California 91522



tel: 818 954 4840

fax: 818 954 4860


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About the Author: Darius KADIVAR is a Freelance Journalist, Film Historian, and Media Consultant.


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