Hallstrom Falls for ‘Hoax’

Lasse Hallström is probably best known for his directorial duties on such films as Chocolat and The Cider House Rules, but this time he has caught a bit of the Howard Hughes bug, well, sort of…

Hallström is ready to direct Hoax, a film which will follow the life of Clifford Irving, the man who wrote and sold a bogus biography of billionaire aviator Howard Hughes to McGraw-Hill.

Some casting rumors are being spread about as Richard Gere is apparently in talks to play the lead role of Irving and Alfred Molina might play Richard Suskind, his accomplice in pulling off one of the great media hoaxes.

If you are thinking this is simply in response to the recent success of The Aviator think again as the project has been developing for about five years. The script was written by William Wheeler and is controlled by The Day After Tomorrow producer Mark Gordon, who is setting up the project at Stratus for financing on a modest budget.

Variety gives a good description of the story by saying, “Pic is based on Irving’s published account of his misdeed, for which he was given a 2½-year jail sentence in 1972. He convinced his publisher that he’d developed a relationship with Hughes, who by that time hadn’t been seen in public for years. Irving even forged documents that appeared to prove he had the ear of the billionaire. Even when Hughes emerged momentarily from seclusion for a telephone news conference to say the book was bogus, McGraw-Hill continued to stand by Irving, who stuck to his story until he finally had no choice but to cop to his crime.


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