George Clooney Is The American

Shooting starts on Italian thriller

A press release from Focus Features has announced that shooting has begun in Italy on The American: Anton Corbijn's second film as director (after the brilliant Control), starring George Clooney.

It's based on Martin Booth's 2005 novel A Very Private Gentleman: a languid, introspective thriller about an ageing manufacturer of intricate and unusual bespoke weapons, hiding out in the Italian Appenines, posing as a painter of butterflies when his past comes back to haunt him.

The screenplay has been adapted by Roland's son Rowan Joffe (co-writer of 28 Weeks Later and the upcoming new version of Brighton Rock). Grant Heslov, who was with Clooney for Goodnight and Good Luck and The Men Who Stare At Goats, is among the producers. Costume and production design is by the Slumdog Millionaire team of Suttirat Larlarb and Mark Digby, and Corbijn's editor and cinematographer from Control, Martin Ruhe and Andrew Hulme, are also on board.

In front of the camera with Clooney are Bruce Altman (recently seen in, er, Bride Wars and Peter and Vandy); Thekla Reuten (Marie from In Bruges); and Italian stars Paolo Bonacelli and Violante Placido.

The announcement boils the plot down to a kind of one-last-job scenario, which kind of suggests a rather straight re-working of what's quite a tricksy, unreliably-narrated book. But the names involved are practically a guarantee of quality, so maybe that's just to make a convenient soundbite for the press.