George Clooney Picks Up Rights to Jonathan Mahler's The Challenge

August 12, 2008

The Challenge - Court Room

Actor George Clooney recently bought the rights to Jonathan Mahler's legal thriller "The Challenge." The book is a non-fiction story about the lengthy campaign waged by US Navy lawyer Charles Swift and Georgetown law professor Neal Katyal to ensure a fair trial for Salim Hamdan, the bodyguard and driver of Osama bin Laden. The film will be setup at Clooney's Smoke House production company and could potentially be something he will write, direct, and/or star in. Clooney might eventually take on the role of Charles Swift, but has not yet made any casting decisions. Apparently he's been interested in this political story for quite some time and met with Mahler before it was even published to start negotiating the deal.

The Challenge BookToo add some more details to the back story behind Salim Hamdan, he was sentenced to 66 months in prison by a panel of military officers just a month ago. He was found guilty of material support for terrorism but cleared of the more serious charges of conspiracy to commit murder, which some consider a partial success for Swift and Katyal. The book outlines the story of the two lawyers and "their attempt to scale the walls of the American government and overturn the system of military commissions set up to try the detainees at Guantanamo Bay." It ends with the 2006 US Supreme Court ruling that the military tribunals ordered for Hamdan and other Guantanamo Bay detainees violated the Geneva Convention and the Uniform Code for Military Justice; what some have called "the most important decision on presidential power and the rule of law, ever." You can pick up a copy of the book on

Unfortunately I'm not very familiar with this story or the case, however, reading up on the background has certainly drawn me in. In terms of the cinematic adaptation, I think it could present an interesting look at the whole situation, but I don't think it's going to have an effect this late in the game. However, it may not be Clooney's intention to use the film for political impact but rather to simply tell the true story. Unfortunately this world is over-saturated with Iraq War dramas and politically infused films that most ignore. Even Rendition, which to me stood out, ended up being ignored by the moviegoing public. Hopefully this story in the hands of Clooney will be turned into a film that people will actually care about.

Find more posts: Movie News



Sounds similar to Michael Clayton, but interesting nonetheless... It's a shame that people ignore the issues thinking that they'll go away if they don't acknowledge them...I hope this film will finally shed some light on the illegal activites our country participates in daily. Rendition was a great film and even The Road to Guantanamo was very under appreciated.

Peloquin on Aug 13, 2008


I heard George Clooney was asked to assist Barack Obama's campaign.

Dustyman1505 on Aug 13, 2008


blah, blah, blah... America sucks... blah, blah, blah... We live in an evil empire... blah, blah, blah... It's so good that Hollywood is around to set us all straight... blah, blah, blah... Where's the indignance toward Russia for invading Georgia? All they wanted to do was join NATO; but Putin doesn't want any of that. I understand people having differences with our elected officials, it happens to me all the time; but no matter who our congressmen and senators are, I'm happy to live a truly free country. As far as illegal activities go, I'm appalled at the way San Francisco continuously violates federal law as a sanctuary city. It's a disgrace when an illegal alien in Los Angeles is allowed to remain in the U.S. and then kills a man and his two sons, leaving a woman mourning the loss of her entire family. Where's the indignance towards these types of truly greivous acts?

U.S.A. on Aug 13, 2008


What an ignorant comment...saying your glad to live in a truly free country yet you're referring to immigrants as illegal aliens. If this were truly a free country we wouldn't be closing our borders off. Also to use murder as a reason for injustice is just absurd...America has by far the highest murder rate and that has nothing to do with illegal immigration. It has to do with the "war on drugs" and pushing people to their financial limits until they break and are forced to commit acts they normally wouldn't in order to survive. I recently had a friend commit suicide over a credit card bill because creditors were calling his neighbors and causing him so much shame he couldn't take it anymore. I'm not saying he shouldn't have to pay back the money, but working 2 jobs and barely keeping his head above water to pay a bill which he was tricked into when he was 18 just isn't right (especially when the amount keeps increasing). I guess he could have robbed someone to stay afloat, but he took the only honorable way out he could find like so many others in this country. Not to mention our health care system has caused my grandmother to have to get a part time job at the age of 78 in order to afford the many many pills she's required to take. Oh and by the way, I'm glad Georgia came to our aid in Iraq, but then when they need our help for a legitimate cause we turn our backs and take a vacation to the Olympics. And speaking of Iraq, didn't a letter get published this week that reveals our government falsified a federal document in order to pursuede the American people into an unjustified war? America is not free by any means...Sure we can say what we want, but that doesn't mean anyone listens or anything changes... I guess I'm a terrorist now for stating my unpatriotic blasphemy...

Peloquin on Aug 13, 2008


Well, Well, Well. Imagine that, George Clooney is interested in producing a movie that paints the U.S. as evil and the Bush administration at the root of all evil. This hollywood-halfwit drivel is really getting tired. This movie will have the same poor box office receipts as all the previous anti-U.S. movies that have come out in the past 18 months. What will be the name of this movie? "Bush lied and people died"? liberal douchebags Peloquin: You're a moron if you think our borders should be wide open and anyone should be able to come here if they choose. You prepared to pay for all the government services these people require? And please do not say they are all carrying their own weight. Our hospitals are pushed to the brink with uninsured illegal aliens in all of our border states. Our school systems have twice the classroom size they should have.... and I wont even get started on the illegal drug trade that comes with a nice percentage of these illegals. You want to live in a socialist society, leave the country. idiot! p.s. Barack Obama has no chance at being elected president. The internals of all the polls show he has major problems. An unheard of 25% of the electorate say they are undecided, which is the highest at this point of a campaign in history. I predict he will lose by the biggest margin in presidential elections in several decades. His only hope is that McCain has a severe senior moment, which causes hospitalization. Suck it up Democraps, your once shoe-in election is now on the brink of disaster. Top dems know it and they are whispering about a coup to get Hillary the nomination in Denver. They know Obama cannot win.

Cajun_Mike on Aug 13, 2008


Peloquin... if you were a good grandson, *you* would get an extra job so that your grandmother wouldn't have to... or you could work that out with other family members. As for your friend that messed up his credit, there are many ways to take care of that. There are credit recovery companies and programs widely available. It's not "society's fault" he over charged; nor is it "society's responsibility" to bale him out. People get out of personal debt everyday in this country. Committing suicide is never an honorable solution. It sounds like he may have had worse emotional and psychological problems than bad credit; problems that no amount of money or friendship may have been able to solve. As far as you being a terrorist goes... that seems like quite a silly thing for you to say. I've included a web address below that shows the type of true terroist threat our country actually faces. The address is safe; it is an ABC News clip on Yahoo.

U.S.A. on Aug 13, 2008


Who are you guys to attack me personally for stating some of the nationwide concerns in America. Just because I can relate to the troubles of most people in this country doesn't make me some communist. Just the fact that you feel the need to attack me personally means our country has become too bipartisan; and you're probably right that Obama will lose the coming election because that's exactly what the Republicans do year after year...attack the candidates personally rather than address the issues. And to say I'm not a good grandson for bailing out my grandmother is ridiculous because I'm in the same financial troubles as the rest of my family. We're not some deadbeats either...we all have college degrees and we all make over 60k which should be enough to survive, but it just isn't anymore. With 45k in student loans to pay back at an insane interest rate I'm just another member of the middle class working poor. So don't pretend to blame these issues on me being some lazy whining liberal. When my friend killed himself he left no note, told no one, but instead laid out all his bills on his floor and hung himself...that's why I blame society, because he was a young stupid kid who didn't know there was any way out because the creditors made it seem like his life was over day after day. And the word 'terrorist' is becoming more and more like the way we threw around the word 'communist' back in the 60s...if you don't agree with how things are run then you must be a terrorist. Stereotyping people by showing me news clips of Muslims just shows me who your afraid of, but my fear stems from a different group of people and they've got much better funding...

Peloquin on Aug 13, 2008


We all are proud to be here but we also cannot condemn others for wanting to be here If we are going to other countries with guns without their consent, why can't they enter ours without our consent...and more over they don't even have the guns....we do. I am not saying open borders and all equal shit because its not, it is not compatible with contemporary man, but consistence in foreign policy would be fucking less hypocritical. If we can go in others homes to save them, others should be allowed to come in our homes to save themselves...which is what we do SAVE them. Now if saving us from them was the reason, it was explainable, but that wasn't the reason we were given for the invasion was it. another hypocritical stand is we look for our gain more than our ideals. As an individual with minimal impact we can afford that as a Superpower we don't have that luxury. China is allowed its oppression and russia is riled in the media, not that I am saying it wasn't necessary but fucking consistency would be nice. Another problem is Too much executive power another is the ridiculousness of media another is ridiculous priorities of people another is economy driven by greed, for longest time it worked, but once the prevalence of greed occurs , I think the priorities of company changes another is consumerist society, I mean when brand names run our lives thats hell, another is this smear campaign in all aspect of american lifestyle and thereof lack of the ability to compromise and another is lack of unity as much ass I am proud to be American, there are some fucking problems and the system to fucking fix it has fucking problem, Now I'm a little bit country, I'm a little bit roccck-n-rollla get your ass together and work fucking the same way towards the way of the common sense

Me on Aug 13, 2008


Watch this short animation, narrated by Viggo Mortensen, you might find it interesting, but maybe you'll just think it a load of Pinko Commie crap.

Crapola on Aug 13, 2008


Sounds intresting. defintiley keep my eye out for this one.

Ryan on Aug 13, 2008


Quote Peloquin- "I guess I'm a terrorist now for stating my unpatriotic blasphemy…" Nah, you're just another ignorant lefty. My God what a bunch a white ants the US is infested with, happily chewing away, while blissfully defending the true destroyers of civilisation. This movie will join the list of other crappy Hollywood failures. And here's hoping Clooney loses all his money and has to get a real job.

nef deppard on Aug 14, 2008


Hey Nef, Civilisation was destroyed long ago, there's nothing civilised about the world we live in today.

Crapola on Aug 14, 2008


Ignorant?! Ignorant is lying to invade a country and kill thousands, ignorant is spending money on war rather than schools and hospitals, ignorant is ignoring a natural disaster!!!! So don't call me ignorant because your the one who voted for this asshole twice...

Peloquin on Aug 14, 2008


"trying to invade a country and free tens of millions, spending money on defense to protect schools and hospitals, a natural disaster exacerbated by local politicians who let the infrastructure rot on their watch" There, I fixed it for ya. You need to read the news friend, and not the loopy lefty blogs.

nef deppard on Aug 15, 2008


I love how you use the words "invade" and "free" in the same sentence. Since our definition of free differs with theirs we thought it was necessary to spread democracy on the tip of our bayonet. It'd be a different situation if the Iraqis wanted us there, but that's just not the case. At first maybe they did because they thought we would bring them schools and hospitals and the finer points of democracy, but all we gave them was more violence and they want us out. We haven't freed anyone in Iraq, and if you talk to any American soldier or any Iraqi civilian they'll tell you that. In regards to spending money on defense to protect schools and hospitals is just absurd. "Fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here" would have made sense if we invaded the correct country in the Middle East using precise intelligence instead of lying to America to get people scared into supporting an unjust war with no end in sight. Then you're blaming the local politicians in New Orleans for an act of God?! Their entire city was flooded in a few days leaving thousands stranded and hundreds dead all the while our fearless leader doesn't even take the time to cut his vacation short and stop by. It's absurd that you would so callously say New Orleans got what they deserved because their local government wasn't totally prepared for a freak of nature. I can tell you watch the news quite a bit because you're thoroughly brainwashed by mainstream media. Just because the press you watch is more well funded and has pretty flying graphs doesn't mean they are more credible than a blogger living in Iraq so you need to stop believing everything your fed day in and day out and start searching for the truth in news. To say there's more accurate information on Fox News than on a truly free press just shows me how naive you are. You keep believing Wolf Blitzer and Papa Bear O Reilly and I'll continue reading my "loopy lefty blogs" which seem to agree with every other news organization throughout the world. But you're probably right, everyone else is probably wrong and Fox News really is the only accurate way to get your news today...

Peloquin on Aug 15, 2008


Dude, You are too easy. Start a blog. You talk so much, and with all that pent up middle class aggression you definitely need an outlet. In the meantime, you could try raving about the Russkies; now there's some guys doing bad things you might want to rant about. It's been fun playing with you.

nef deppard on Aug 15, 2008


Peace... I wish we had that. So much bad out there. Thank you George for putting in so much effort to shed light on things. That takes much courage. Health care here alone in the US is awful. No one cares about anyone. I have too much to say, I guess just kick back relax and try to make our own little worlds as at peace as possible and laugh and hug who we can. Just to get through all of this. Peace and Love ok? A

Amy on Aug 16, 2008


Clooney and Hollywood in general show where their loyalties and sympathies are by the type of movies they choose to make and the topics and treatment those topics get.

bigpattylee2008 on Aug 16, 2008

New comments are no longer allowed on this post.



Subscribe to our feed -or- daily newsletter:
Follow Alex's main account on twitter:
For the latest posts only - follow this one:

Add our updates to your Feedly - click here

Get the latest posts sent in Telegram Telegram