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George Clooney's 'Hack Attack' calls on 'Theory of Everything' writer

'Theory of Everything' writer Anthony McCarten is in talks to adapt 'Hack Attack' for George Clooney

"Hack Attack," George Clooney's upcoming directorial project about the British phone-hacking scandal that engulfed Rupert Murdoch's news empire, is dialing up "The Theory of Everything" screenwriter Anthony McCarten.

The author, playwright and filmmaker is in talks to pen the script for "Hack Attack," which will be based on Nick Davies' nonfiction book, The Times has confirmed. Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.

Published earlier this year, Davies' book recounts how News Corp. and its subsidiary News International regularly tapped into the voice mail of elected officials, celebrities and ordinary British citizens.

Revelations of the impropriety shocked Britain and triggered a huge backlash, prompting Murdoch to shutter the 168-year-old News of the World newspaper in 2011 and spurring a government inquiry that uncovered unscrupulous business practices.

When Sony Pictures announced the film last month, Clooney, the son of a journalist, said in a statement, "This has all the elements — lying, corruption, blackmail — at the highest levels of government by the biggest newspaper in London. And the fact that it's true is the best part."

McCarten, meanwhile, is enjoying the positive buzz surrounding "Theory" (out Nov. 7), the Stephen Hawking biopic he began more than a decade ago based on the writings of Jane Hawking, before he had her permission. (Jane Hawking, nee Wilde, was the first wife of the famous theoretical physicist.)

Speaking at a recent "Theory" screening, McCarten told The Times, "It took eight years to get that permission, but it was a rich journey, and I'm grateful for it now."

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