Richard Linklater Casts Paul Dano as His Young Karl Rove in ‘College Republicans’

One of director Richard Linklater’s first films, and his big breakthrough, was 1991’s Slacker, a movie about misfit young people in Austin, Texas. Many years and a storied film career later and Linklater finds himself aiming his focus at the youth set once again, but this time he’s looking at a decidedly different subset of the country’s up and comers. College Republicans is a biopic that follows the college careers of conservative political figures Karl Rove and Lee Atwater. Rove and Atwater are divisive figures to be sure, but even their most vicious critics would have to agree that slackers they are not. This might prove to be a chance for Linklater to change up his dreamy, slow moving storytelling style a bit and do something more kinetic and Social Network-y.

College Republicans, written by Wes Jones, appeared on the 2010 Black List of best unproduced scripts in Hollywood, and it focuses on the meeting of the Republican brain trust of the past few decades, back when they were in college and Rove was running to become president of the College Republicans. It was during this period that they perfected many of the controversial political strategies that would lead to the duo being prominent figures in the Nixon campaign and both Bush administrations.

Despite the fact that Shia LaBeouf was once thought to be attached to this project, now that Linklater has his hands on it, that no longer seems to be the case. Instead, The Wrap is reporting that There Will Be Blood’s Paul Dano will now be playing the young Karl Rove. Even as recently as Cowboys and Aliens Dano has been seen adeptly playing contemptible young characters, so he’s probably a good choice to play as reviled a figure as Rove. As long as this movie is working under the assumption that Rove is a cheating, manipulative source of evil. Which I’m sure it is, because, you know, Hollywood…liberals. Ah, let’s not talk politics on a movie site.

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