EXCLUSIVE: Alec Baldwin, who was to play a weeklong role in Rob Reiner’s Iraq movie Shock And Awehas exited the film over financial timing issues, Deadline has learned. Reiner, who is directing the film, is expected to step into the role which has been characterized as a Ben Bradlee-type editor.

The film, which was written by LBJ screenwriter Joey Hartstone, is a politically charged story about the only group of  journalists who started questioning the lead-up to the war and began asking tough questions about Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. The story is based on real Knight-Ridder journalists Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel who found that the Bush Administration was trying to tie Saddam Hussein to the terror attacks, even though there was no true evidence to support the claim. Bush and his administration, of course, sold the Iraq War to the American public and via speeches at the UN. Baldwin was to play their editor, Knight-Ridder Washington bureau chief John Walcott.

The film is being financed by Savvy Media Holdings and Acacia Filmed Entertainment. Reiner, Matthew George and Michele Reiner are producing. Voltage Films has been handling worldwide sales.

The film, which also stars Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, James Mardsen, Milla Jovovich, Jessica Biel, Richard Schiff and Luke Tennie, started shooting last month.