George Clooney

Jeffrey Mayer/

George Clooney is taking on The Challenge.

The Oscar winner's production company, Smoke House, has snagged the rights to the legal thriller by Jonathan Mahler, which examines the extraordinary efforts of Navy lawyer Charles Swift to obtain a fair trial for Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's onetime bodyguard and driver.

Per Variety, Smoke House reportedly plunked down a low-seven-figure sum for the property.

Clooney is eying The Challenge as a potential writing, directing and acting vehicle along the lines of his politically charged 2005 film Good Night and Good Luck, which was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

No word yet whether the thesp will take on the role of Swift. The book chronicles the idealistic attorney's efforts to defend one of the most notorious captives of the War on Terror.

The Yemeni-born Hamdan's case went all the way to the Supreme Court, and The Challenge concludes with the court's landmark ruling: the military tribunals set up by the Bush administration to try him and other detainees held at Guantanamo Bay violated the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code for Military Justice.

Hamdan subsequently was put on trial before another military commission and found guilty of material support for terrorism. However, in what various legal experts note was a triumph for Swift, his client was acquitted of the more serious charges of conspiracy to commit murder.

Meanwhile, jumping genres, Hilary Swank and her producing partner, Molly Smith, have snatched up the rights to Mireille Guiliano's 2004 best-seller, French Women Don't Get Fat, as a potential romantic comedy for the Million Dollar Baby star.

The original nonfiction tome offers up sage advice on how French women are able to remain thin and avoid the obesity problems plaguing Americans, despite gorging on high-calorie foods and wine.

The movie, on the other hand, will use the author's life as inspiration for the fictional story following the manager of a champagne make who learns some difficult life lessons.

Swank will coproduce the flick with Smith through their 2S Films shingle along with Porter Geller Entertainment.

In other casting news:

  • Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg have been tapped to star in Lars von Trier's upcoming horror film, Antichrist. They'll play a couple who take up residence in an isolated cabin in the woods after the death of their child. Production starts later this month in Germany.
  • Per the Hollywood Reporter, Jane Adams has come aboard HBO's hourlong dark comedy series Hung, opposite Thomas Jane. She'll essay the part of Tanya, an artsy single woman who flirts with Ray (Jane), described as a well-endowed middle-aged high school basketball coach who must learn to use his best asset
  • Cynthia Stevenson has signed on to topline with Bob Saget the new CW comedy Surviving Suburbia. The series centers on Keith (Saget), a cynical family man who just wants to be left alone in his suburban enclave. Stevenson will play his wife.
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