Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant, based on Kurt Eichenwald’s book and scripted by Scott Z. Burns, is beginning to sound really interesting, and not only because it’s suddenly taken a quantum leap in the casting process. The (true) story is fascinating — Mark Whiteacre, a high level executive, turns whistle-blower on his company’s price-fixing scheme, then while working with the FBI defrauds $9m from the same company and is revealed as bi-polar and delusional as the FBI attempts to use his info to build a case.

Matt Damon has been signed to play Whiteacre for some time, but Soderberg is starting to shake the cast up a bit. Scott Bakula and Joel McHale (from The Soup) will be the FBI agents working with Whiteacre; also in the cast are Mike O’Malley, Andrew Daly, Adam Paul, Melanie Lynskey, Tom Wilson, Rick Overton and Tom Papa.  

That’s a hell of a lot of weird comedy talent (some would call ‘talent’ into question here, but I’ll go with the broad party line for the sake of an overview) for what sounds like a very serious drama in the vein of The Insider. But The Hollywood Reporter was told that “Soderbergh is looking to create a thriller with dark comedy elements. He chose comedic actors who haven’t been overexposed on film, planning to have them play their roles seriously and have a humorous tone emerge naturally.

I’m envisioning something that falls into the massive chasm between Erin Brockovich and Schizopolis, and that’s enough to get me excited for a film that I hadn’t previously thought much about at all. And despite it being two or three pictures down the line for Soderbergh we should be seeing The Informant sometime next year.