Cast: Sam Rockwell - Chuck Barris
George Clooney - CIA Agent Jim Byrd
Julia Roberts - Patricia Watson
Drew Barrymore - Penny
Rutger Hauer - Siegfried Keeler
Shaun Balbar - Beanpole Bachelor
Michael Cera - Young Chuck Barris
Jerry Weintraub - Larry Goldberg
Kristen Wilson - Loretta
Jennifer Hall - Georgia
Jim Lange - Himself
Gene Patton - Himself
Dick Clark - Himself
Charlie Kaufman from the book by Chuck Barris
Plot: "My name is Charles Hirsch Barris. I have written pop songs, I have been a television producer. I am responsible for polluting the airwaves with mind-numbing puerile entertainment. In addition, I have murdered thirty-three human beings."
Television made him famous, but his biggest hits happened off screen.
This is the story of a legendary showman's double life - television producer by day, CIA assassin by night.
Young, energetic, and focused on a top career in the growing television industry, Chuck Barris finds himself being followed by a suspicious character who quickly lures him into a secretive and dangerous world: that of a CIA operative. While Barris gains notoriety as a dynamic television producer - creating such innovative and popular game shows as "The Newlywed Game" and the self-hosted "The Gong Show" - he regularly executes assassinations for the United States Government.
As ratings rise, Barris incorporates his shows into his secret life: winning couples on "The Dating Game" find themselves shipped off to "fabulous Helsinki" and "romantic West Berlin" for their dream dates - it isn't Paris, but it provides chaperone Barris a cover for his covert missions.
As Barris basks in the glamour of his two worlds - entertainment and espionage - his life begins to spiral out of control. He is torn between the woman who loves him and the mysterious woman of his fantasies. He receives mass criticism from the public who accuses him of contaminating the airwaves…and he finds himself marked for death by a traitor operative.
Barris must regain control of his life...
One of the hottest scripts in Hollywood, "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" caught the eye of several Hollywood players. For George Clooney, however, the reason to get involved was clear. "I've never really wanted to direct, but I loved the project and believed that I knew how to tell the story," states Clooney. With the confidence of his Section 8 Productions partner, Steven Soderbergh, Clooney decided to "give it a shot." Above all, he knew that the driving force behind making this film would be his passion for the material. "I think Charlie Kaufman is the best writer in town right now. This script is a gem, and it's an absurd story that's fun to tell and fun to be a part of. People just can't believe it when they read it."
Clooney continues, "I've asked Chuck about the specifics of the story, and he would look me in the eyes and not say anything. I believe it is Chuck's story. I believe it was important for him to tell it and fun for us because the story is so wild. There is something shockingly fascinating about someone of his wealth and fame who would want to say this about himself. Whether it's true or not is in Chuck's head."
On having his story brought to the big screen, Chuck Barris explains, "I wrote the book in 1980, and it came out two years later. As for the evolution of the movie, it's a convoluted story. I can't remember all of the details. All I know is that the producer, Andrew Lazar, got a hold of it at one point and then George Clooney came into the picture, and between the two of them, they made it happen.
"I was never really concerned about the adaptation because I knew that they would stick to the premise of the book, and that was the important thing. There are some changes, but I think the heart of the matter is still there."
Shooting on location brought the cast and crew across borders (and through several climates). Says Lazar, "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" spans 1930-1981 and takes place everywhere from Los Angeles, to New York, to Philadelphia, to Mexico, to Eastern Europe. We seriously considered Prague as a location but eventually realized that Montreal had everything we needed. The Old Montreal section filled our 'Helsinki' and 'Berlin' needs, while other parts of town resemble New York and Philadelphia. They also have a tremendous stage space and an extremely talented pool of crew members to draw from. We filmed in Montreal through the dead of winter before returning to Los Angeles for the last two weeks of principal photography".