EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures and Smokehouse partners George Clooney and Grant Heslov will turn the story of 60s comedians Tom and Dicky Smothers into a feature film. They’ve optioned the David Bianculli book Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story Of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and they’ve set Brian Hecker and Craig Sherman to write the script. Clooney and Heslov will produce. It’s too early to determine whether or not Clooney will star or direct.
The show ran from 1967-69 on CBS, and the brothers, who famously squabbled on and off screen, were transformed by the period’s social upheaval. They went from squeaky clean comics to counterculture troublemakers. They were aided by a writing staff that included Steve Martin, and Rob Reiner and they were the first to introduce liberal hippie politics into the mainstream, as well as cutting edge rock acts like The Who, Jefferson Airplane and The Doors. All this earned them a spot on President Richard Nixon’s enemies list and ultimately got them fired by CBS.
Hecker and Sherman most recently scripted Atari, a Black List script about 27-year old rebel genius Nolan Bushnell, who created the video game industry and Atari, gave Steve Jobs a job, and paved the way for the computer age. Paramount and Appian Way are developing the project. Original Artists reps the scribes.
Clooney and Heslov are in the Oscar race with The Ides of March and Clooney is also in the Best Actor mix for The Descendants.