Remember the media hoopla surrounding the live broadcast of an episode of TV's "E.R."? Well, actor George Clooney apparently wants another taste of live drama. He's executive producing and starring in a TV remake of the 1964 film, "Fail-Safe," to air April 9 on CBS.
According to CBS' communications department, "Fail Safe," based on Harvey Wheeler and Eugene Burdick's 1962 novel, is Clooney's favorite movie. The Cold War drama tells of the diplomatic -- and tragic -- chaos that ensues when a U.S. bomber accidentally receives instructions to hit Moscow with a nuclear warhead. As the time ticks down before detonation, American and Russian negotiations move from stopping the calamity to minimizing casualties to making a tit-for-tat trade, so that both countries suffer equally to avoid all-out nuclear destruction.
Though well-received critically, the original "Fail-Safe" film had the ill luck to be released the same year as Stanley Kubrick's surreal farce, "Dr. Strangelove," an end-of-the-world satire that received much of the media attention that might have gone to the Lumet film otherwise.
The new production, to air live, 9-11 PM (EST), will feature Clooney as Air Force bomber pilot, Colonel Jack Grady. Other roles, including the U.S. president (played by Henry Fonda in the Sidney Lumet-helmed original), have yet to be cast.
Clooney's Maysville Pictures is presenting the TV film, in association with Warner Brothers Television. Tom Park, who produced the aforementioned live "E.R." segment, will produce "Fail-Safe." Walter Bernstein, who penned the screenplay for the 1964 movie, will do the same for the new broadcast. Referring to the acclaimed 1950s dramas on "Playhouse 91," CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves said in a statement, "I can't think of anyone better than George Clooney to both star in and produce the Network's first live broadcast of a drama in almost four decades."
-- By David Lefkowitz