Clooney has a busy 2007 ahead of him. Michael Clayton and Oceans 13 both come out, so he’ll be doing the junket hustle (by this time next year I may have interviewed him five times). He’s directing Leatherheads, a romantic comedy set in the early days of football, and then he’ll be gearing up to direct The Belmont Boys and star as Dave Klein in White Jazz. But before 2007 is up, Clooney has decided to stick a little more work in the mix: he’ll be starring in a remake of the French film 36 Quai des Orfevres. And he’ll be working opposite Robert DeNiro.

The original film is a cop thriller, with plainclothes detectives competing to solve a series of armored car robberies. To the victor, a promotion. The late, lamented Dave Davis named it one of his favorite movies of 2005. Let me pull out the Ouija board and tell you what he said at the time:

A stylish, suspenseful cop thriller from France (I know, right?), 36 Quai feels like a French Michael Mann film – lots of ambiguous morals and shady acquaintances.  It starts like a fairly standard police story (the title refers to the French version of Scotland Yard) with two rival detectives hunting a gang of violent armored car thieves, but the film becomes something else entirely, and is all the more satisfying for the risks it takes (it’s based on real events during director Olivier Marchal’s time as a lawman). Naturally, a Hollywood remake is already on the docket.

The American version will be called just 36, and it is being directed by Marc Forster, a guy whose work I could like more.

Here’s what’s great about this news: The Good Shepherd reminded us that there is a real artist inside Robert DeNiro, dying to get out, even if he stars in shitty film after shitty film. But being teamed with Clooney is great news – George may like working, but he doesn’t just star in any piece of crap like Bob does. This makes me believe this movie has a chance, and at the very least, I believe Clooney will force DeNiro to step his game up a bit. I can’t wait.