George Clooney to direct film adaption of "Hack Attack"

Thursday 04 September 2014 14.09
The News of the World closed in 2011 after it emerged it had illegally accessed people's voicemails
The News of the World closed in 2011 after it emerged it had illegally accessed people's voicemails

George Clooney is to direct and co-produce a film about the British phone hacking scandal, Columbia Pictures has announced.

"Hack Attack" will be based on the book of the same name about the hacking scandal surrounding Rupert Murdoch's news empire, which triggered the demise of its weekly News of the World.

"This has all the elements - lying, corruption, blackmail -- at the highest levels of government by the biggest newspaper in London," Mr Clooney said, in a statement released by Sony Pictures.

"And the fact that it is true is the best part."

Mr Clooney described the book’s author, Guardian journalist Nick Davies, as a "brave and stubborn reporter" and said it was an "honour to put his book into a film".

Mr Davies spent six years investigating News Corporation and its subsidiary, News International, concluding that they amounted to a world where "Everything is for sale. Nobody is exempt."

The phone-hacking trial was one of the most expensive in English legal history, spotlighting the close ties between the Murdoch empire and politicians and the no-holds-barred methods of Britain's tabloid press.

Those affected included Kate Middleton, and actors Jude Law and Daniel Craig.

Mr Murdoch shut the News of the World in 2011 after it emerged that what was then Britain's biggest selling paper had illegally accessed the voicemails of a murdered schoolgirl.

In July this year, prosecutors announced charges against Neil Wallis, the paper's former deputy editor, and ex-features editor Jules Stenson.

The announcement comes three weeks after former News of the World editor and Downing Street communications chief Andy Coulson was jailed for 18 months after a lengthy phone hacking trial.

Another former editor of the tabloid, Rebekah Brooks, was cleared of all charges, along with her husband and three other people.

The film is to begin shooting next year.