Karl Rove is easily one of the most polarising figures ever to (dis)grace American politics. The man who worked for Richard Nixon and George HW Bush and helped get George W Bush elected president is a lightning rod for both celebration and scorn. And now his early years as a political manipulator are going to be explored by Richard Linklater in College Republicans, with There Will Blood’s Paul Dano playing the younger Rove.
Wes Jones’s script, which landed on the 2010 Black List, follows Rove and fellow political thinker Lee Atwater (who would go on to advise Presidents Reagan and Bush as well as being chairman of the Republican National Committee) when they first meet after Rove drops out of the University of Utah to take a position with the College Republican National Committee. Atwater managed his campaign when Rove opted to run for national chairman of the Committee. There, the pair really started to develop their talents for political dirty tricks.
Producer Maya Browne tells The Wrap that Linklater, who last directed Me and Orson Welles and has dark comedy Bernie set for release, will kick off filming in his usual stomping ground of Austin, Texas this coming November.
Currently at work once more with his Little Miss Sunshine directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris on He Loves Me, Dano scored the role of Rove after Shia LaBeouf initially showed some interest. And given what Rove looked like at the time, he’s a solid facial fit…