The Good Shepherd

Release Date: December 22, 2006
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Movie of the Day for Wednesday, October 25, 2006
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Do you have a little shepherd in you? Would you like to?

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
11/159 David Mumpower Measured direction and superlative acting makes over-long movie feel 90 minutes shorter. Don't let the daunting run time dissuade you.
41/200 Max Braden Long, but interesting history of the CIA and an examination on subtle corruption. 2007's Breach is a quicker version of a similar tale.
45/52 Les Winan Production design and a great cast can't cover for an incredibly dull movie with a one-note performance from Matt Damon.

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The Good Shepherd, the film that tracks the evolution of the CIA from its inception, is a go project. Stop me if you have heard this one before.

The project, whose popularity has ebbed and flowed in studio boardrooms for more than decade now, appears likely to finally become a reality. The movie would star Matt Damon and co-star screen icon Robert De Niro. What is most noteworthy here is that De Niro will also direct, marking only the second time in his career that he has officially attempted to do so (trivia answer: A Bronx Tale, a 1993 release, was De Niro's directorial debut).

So, what happened to finally allow the project to advance? De Niro had a bout with cancer in 2003. The illness forced the delay in filming of Hide and Seek. He kept his 2004 schedule light with only Meet the Fokkers and Alexander selected. The latter film's delay meant that the now healthy De Niro suddenly had the second half of the year free.

As for the project itself, The Good Shepherd is loosely based on the life story of James Jesus Angleton, though the name has been changed and the story fictionalized a great deal. The protagonist, James Wilson, is a Yale graduate groomed to be a spy. He winds up becoming a founder of what will evolve to be the Central Intelligence Agency. The film will follow four decades of his life from college life through the Cold War. Rather than focus on the character's accomplishments, The Good Shepherd will also demonstrate the toll Wilson's spy games took on his home life.

Filming is currently scheduled for Spring of 2005 but considering the checkered history of the project, that should be taken with a grain of salt. (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Good Shepherd
Main Cast Matt Damon, Robert De Niro, Angelina Jolie
Director Robert De Niro
Screenwriter Eric Roth
Distributor Universal
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Awards Awards page for The Good Shepherd
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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