First Official Look at Clooney in “The American”

George Clooney's been hard at work filming "The American" with director Anton Corbijn, who has offered up the first fully sanctioned still from the film.

The photo of Clooney running up some stone steps appeared last week on the facebook page for the upcoming film, in which Clooney plays an assassin who poses as a butterfly-painting artist in southern Italy as he bides his time before striking his prey.

From last fall's press release announiucng the film:

The screenplay by Rowan Joffe is adapted from Martin Booth’s novel A Very Private Gentleman, published in 2005... Alone among assassins, Jack (played by Mr. Clooney) is a master craftsman. When a job in Sweden ends more harshly than expected for this American abroad, he vows to his contact Larry (Bruce Altman of this fall’s Peter and Vandy) that his next assignment will be his last. Jack reports to the Italian countryside, where he holes up in a small town and relishes being away from death for a spell. The assignment, as specified by a Belgian woman, Mathilde (Thekla Reuten of Focus’ award-winning In Bruges), is in the offing as a weapon is constructed. Surprising himself, Jack seeks out the friendship of local priest Father Benedetto (Italian screen and stage veteran Paolo Bonacelli) and pursues romance with local woman Clara (Italian leading lady Violante Placido). But by stepping out of the shadows, Jack may be tempting fate.

After years of directing primarily music videos, Corbijn made a name for himself with his first feature, 2007's "Control," a film about New Order frontman Ian Curtis.

"The American," which is already beginning to generate Oscar buzz, is due out Sept. 1, but the ending has proved confusing to some viewers at early test screenings, so we're willing to guess that will get pushed back.

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