By Nicole Sperling
Updated October 21, 2007 at 10:04 AM EDT

George Clooney has dropped out of the starring role in Joe Carnahan’s crime drama, White Jazz. The indie project, based on the James Ellroy novel, was initially supposed to begin filming in early 2008. Clooney, who is currently promoting Michael Clayton, shooting the Coen Bros.’ Burn After Reading, and trying to finish his football movie, Leatherheads, is now too swamped to take on the role. “It just simply came down to scheduling,” says Clooney’s producing partner, Grant Heslov. “George continues to believe in the project and in Joe.” It’s not clear if Clooney, who was also set up as a producer on Jazz through his Smoke House productions, will remain involved. And what all this will mean for the film’s fate remains to be seen. It was set up at Warner Independent, but according to a spokesperson there, the film had dropped off its slate.