Director Lasse Hallström offers a brisk account of the scam that shook the literary community with this semi-comic biographical drama starring Richard Gere as the man who sold a fraudulent biography of Howard Hughes to publishing giant McGraw Hill. The year was 1971; the Vietnam War was raging and protestors filled the streets. Clifford Irving (Gere) was a struggling author with bold ambitions, and the determination needed to see them through. When Irving's attempt to sell his latest novel to McGraw Hill via his in-house publisher, Andrea Tate (Hope Davis), falls through at the last minute, the frustrated author loudly proclaims that his next novel will be "the book of the century." Upon returning to his wife Edith's (Marcia Gay Harden) makeshift studio, the humiliated author catches a glimpse of eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes on a magazine cover. Later, almost jokingly, Irving and his best friend Dick Suskind (Alfred Molina) begin to fantasize about a scenario in which the author convinces his publishers that he has been personally selected by Hughes to pen the billionaire's memoirs. The revenge fantasy becomes a complicated reality, however, when Irving and Suskind approach skeptical McGraw Hill heavy Shelton Fisher (Stanley Tucci) with a series of forged letters presumably written by Hughes himself and offering unwavering support for the project. His credibility continually questioned as the ante is upped at every turn, Irving is forced to maintain the increasingly difficult charade as he strong-arms McGraw Hill to pay "Hughes" an unheard-of one million dollars for the rights to his life story, acquires a the illegally procured documents that will provide the foundation for the book, and works around the clock to meet his publisher's deadline.
by Jason Buchanan synopsis