Josh Brolin to Play George W. Bush in Oliver Stone-Directed ‘Bush’ Film

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CHICAGO – Announced during our politically charged primary elections and potentially for release around the 2008 presidential election or inauguration, the legendary Oliver Stone on Sunday revealed his next directing gig: a biopic about President George W. Bush aptly titled “Bush”.

Josh Brolin from the acclaimed “No Country For Old Men” has attached himself to play the embattled 43rd U.S. president while Stone has discreetly begun shopping the script to studios. The screenplay has already been penned by Stone’s “Wall Street” co-scribe Stanley Weiser.

Before simply deciding on “Bush” as its title, the film was aliased “POTUS” (president of the United States) and separately “Misunderestimated”. Filming could begin as soon as April.

From left to right: Oliver Stone, George W. Bush and Josh Brolin
From left to right: Oliver Stone, George W. Bush and Josh Brolin.
Photo credits (from left to right): IMDb;; on Nov. 27, 2007

Though Stone in his interview with Variety declined to offer his personal opinion of the president, he clearly outlined his objective intentions for the film.

I can’t give you [my opinions about Bush] because the filmmaker has to hide in the work. Here, I’m the referee. I want a fair, true portrait of the man.

How did Bush go from an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world? It’s like Frank Capra territory on one hand, but I’ll also cover the demons in his private life, his bouts with his dad and his conversion to Christianity, which explains a lot of where he is coming from.

It includes his belief that God personally chose him to be president of the United States and his coming into his own with the stunning, preemptive attack on Iraq. It will contain surprises for Bush supporters and his detractors.

Stone discussed with Variety his influences for the film:

It’s a behind-the-scenes approach similar to “Nixon” to give a sense of what it’s like to be in his skin. But if “Nixon” was a symphony, this is more like a chamber piece and not as dark in tone.

People have turned my political ideas into a cliché, but that is superficial. I’m a dramatist who is interested in people. I have empathy for Bush as a human being much the same as I did for (Fidel) Castro, (Richard) Nixon, Jim Morrison, Jim Garrison and Alexander the Great.

“Bush” producer Moritz Borman expressed to Variety his thoughts on the timing of the film’s release:

We’ve just gone out with it and April is just around the corner. If we can get it done as an independent or with a studio, we can do it quickly, but nobody really knows what is happening with the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) situation.

We’ve found locations in Louisiana, but we will have to build sets (especially the White House). We could do it later because it’s not a film that has to be timed with the election. It’s a character study of a man.

As would be expected, the casting decision for who to play Bush was meticulous. While “Brolin won’t make a formal deal until financing is sealed, he can be ready for an April start,” according to Variety. Stone added:

Josh is actually better looking than Bush but has the same drive and charisma that Americans identify with Bush. [Bush] has some of that old-time, movie-star swagger.

Discuss this film on our discussion boards here! editor-in-chief Adam Fendelman

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What does Oliver Stone really think about Bush?

I understand why Stone can’t go on record with his take on Bush, but what do you think he’d say if he did?

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