Oliver Stone Heads Back To The Oval Office For 'W,' A 'Fair, True Portrait' Of George W. Bush

'I have empathy for Bush as a human being,' director says of his upcoming project, starring Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Banks.

Rarely is the question asked: Is our filmmakers learning?

Twelve years after he hit pay dirt with the critically lauded "Nixon," controversial director Oliver Stone is back in the Oval Office for "W," a look at the life and times of President George Walker Bush.

Co-written by "Wall Street" scribe Stanley Weiser, "W" has already corralled a cast that no one should misunderestimate, headlined by "No Country for Old Men" star Josh Brolin as the onetime prodigal son-turned-most powerful man in the world. Suiting up as his better half, first lady Laura Bush, is "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" actress Elizabeth Banks, while James Cromwell and Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn have signed on to play George's parents, former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara, respectively.

Among other roles, it is rumored that Paul Giamatti has been approached to play top aide Karl Rove, according to New York magazine. (Who do you think should portray other key players, like Donald Rumsfeld or Condi Rice, in Bush's life? Sound off on the MTV Movies Blog.)

While "Nixon" was a somewhat-critical look at the former president, Stone, a vocal critic of Bush's decision to invade Iraq, told Variety that this film aims to be a "fair, true portrait of the man."

"I'm the referee," he told the trade magazine. "It will contain surprises for Bush supporters and his detractors. It's like Frank Capra territory on one hand, but I'll also cover the demons in his private life, his bouts with his dad and his conversion to Christianity, which explains a lot of where he is coming from."

In that respect, Stone told Variety, the film will use "a behind-the-scenes approach, similar to 'Nixon,' to give a sense of what it's like to be in his skin."

"I'm a dramatist who is interested in people, and I have empathy for Bush as a human being, much the same as I did for Castro, Nixon, [Doors frontman] Jim Morrison, [JFK investigator] Jim Garrison and Alexander the Great," he added.

"W" is expected to reach theaters before January, when Bush will officially leave office, although it is unclear whether it will open before the 2008 presidential election.

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