George Clooney’s Next Film Will Tackle A Highly Controversial Subject

He's heading right into the fire again.

By Matthew Creith | Published

george clooney

Actor, director, producer, and forever multihypenate George Clooney has been known to take on projects full of controversy and debate. From his Academy Award winning performance in Syriana to his take on Edward R. Murrow and Senator Joseph McCarthy in Good Night, and Good Luck, Clooney doesn’t seem to be afraid to embark on journeys of self discovery and true crime drama. In his latest producing effort, Clooney will tackle sex abuse and cover ups at the highest levels of college wrestling.

In the yet to be titled documentary, George Clooney will be producing a film surrounding the events around the Ohio State University sex abuse scandal that rocked the nation. As reported by Variety, Clooney will produce the film along with his producing partner Grant Heslov of Smokehouse Productions, with HBO coming on board to distribute. While the documentary is still in production and filming has begun with director Eva Orner, Deadline confirms that the film will be available on HBO and eventually streamed through HBO Max.

The Ohio State University sex abuse scandal made headlines in 2020 for its detailed and graphic revelations that came out of decades of horrendous exploitation. George Clooney and Grant Heslov had announced the project as a docuseries initially, but transitioned it to a feature length film in the end, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The documentary will explore the true life stories from those who lived it via interviews, in addition to detailing the overall scandal that saw Richard Strauss, a former sports physician at Ohio State, who is currently accused of sexual abuse with more than 300 athletes. This took place over several decades of working with Ohio State University and in the private sector.

The film will be primarily based on the Sports Illustrated piece that debuted in 2020, written by Jon Wertheim. George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Eva Orner are most likely seeking to demonstrate years of abuse at the hands of Richard Strauss, detailing all of the allegations against him, and highlighting specific concerns from professionals in wrestling and UFC. This includes champion Mark Coleman, as well as other athletes and students that attended the university and the clinic Strauss had started at the time.

Director Eva Orner is an interesting choice for this documentary, coming off the heels of her Academy Award winning presentation of Taxi to the Dark Side, which she produced alongside Alex Gibney. The Australian director also won a Daytime Emmy Award for her work on Out of Iraq. The untitled film will also address the most controversial portions of the scandal, which include allegations that a current House of Representatives Congressman, Jim Jordan, was aware of the abuse at the hands of Richard Strauss. Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University at the time when Strauss was employed by the university. Taking on such a controversial subject matter in this new documentary may prove to be a winning combination with Eva Orner and George Clooney at the helm, especially considering that Clooney himself grew up just a stones throw away from the university.