Kill Your Darlings has only just hit theaters, but the team of first-time director John Krokidas and stars Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan are already reuniting to explore the formative years of other, more recent historical figures with College Republicans. It's a movie that's been bouncing around Hollywood for a few years now, with Shia LaBeouf interested at one point, then Richard Linklater and Paul Dano. And Wes Jones' script topped 2010's Black List of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood, beating out Argo, American Hustle, and Margin Call. The story concerns Republican political operatives Lee Atwater (Radcliffe) and Karl Rove (DeHaan), as young men scheming to run Rove for chairman of the national College Republicans organization, and in doing so, pioneer the kinds of dirty campaigning that would eventually bring us into the benighted political era we enjoy today.
Rove would go on to become George W. Bush's consigliere throughout his gubernatorial and Presidential campaigns. Meanwhile, Atwater worked for Bush's father and Ronald Reagan, crafting the "Willie Horton" ad that helped sink Michael Dukakis' presidential run, and was infamous for explaining the Republicans' "Southern Strategy" by saying "You can't say n-----... so you say stuff like 'forced busing,' 'states' rights' and all that stuff." Yet despite the very cynical nature of the real-life campaigners, College Republicans will be a "light-hearted buddy comedy."
Anyone disappointed LaBeouf is no longer involved only has to wait a few more months until he releases his own version, which will be a Blu-ray of College Republicans with Krokidas and Jones' names digitally replaced with "Shia LaBeouf."