Update: Lionsgate has acquired the North American distribution rights to W., and they plan to release the film on October 17th. Since production begins on May 12th, Stone’s obviously counting on recovering some of that late 80s/early 90s efficacy that enabled him to crank out a movie a year. He doesn’t have that team in place anymore, but he still knows how to cut a film on the fly. Good to see he’s not getting unambitious in his old age.

Looks like we’re about to find out just how great an actor Josh Brolin really is, ‘cuz that boy don’t look nothin’ like the outgoing President of the United States. Robert Ritchie on the other hand…

But we were expecting this, weren’t we? Anthony Hopkins didn’t look a thing like Tricky Dick in Oliver Stone’s Nixon, but he still managed to craft an unsettling psychological profile of the enigmatic Quaker. That said, when we got our first glimpse of Nixon‘s cast back in 1995 (in Premiere, I believe), the photos were more subdued; they left room for the imagination. The picture to your right is downright gaudy in comparison, and uncomfortably reminiscent of Parker & Stone’s short-lived That’s My Bush.

I haven’t read Stanley Weiser’s script yet, but the early reviews made it sound kinda garish. Though Weiser’s Wall Street falls apart about midway through (once it goes a-moralizin’), the tone never veered into cartoon territory. From what I hear, W. starts silly and ends sillier.

But Stone understands satire (at least he did when he wrote Scarface), so maybe he’s looking to play this as an angry goof on the nation’s gullibility. The following quote from Entertainment Weekly‘s cover story – in particular, the nod to Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd – gives me a little bit of hope.

‘I think history is going to be very tough on him. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t a great story. It’s almost Capra-esque, the story of a guy who had very limited talents in life, except for the ability to sell himself. The fact that he had to overcome the shadow of his father and the weight of his family name — you have to admire his tenacity. There’s almost an Andy Griffith quality to him, from A Face in the Crowd. If Fitzgerald were alive today, he might be writing about him. He’s sort of a reverse Gatsby.”

Stone is scrambling to complete and release W. before the November election. We’ll see if that comes to pass.