The $10m film reunites The Queen's screenwriter Peter Morgan, actor Michael Sheen and producers Andy Harries and Christine Langan. Harries and Langan, who were at Granada to make The Queen, are now backing The Damned United from Left Bank Pictures (Harries' new production company) and the restructured BBC Films (where Langan is commissioning editor). Harries serves as lead producer.
Hooper previously directed feature film Red Dust and TV projects including John Adams, Longford, Elizabeth 1 and Emmy-winning Prime Suspect.
Sheen plays controversial football manager Brian Clough during his struggles at Leeds United in 1974. Morgan's screenplay is based on the novel by David Peace.
The film will shoot in spring 2008.
Ealing Studios MD James Spring said: 'We are delighted to be working with Andy Harries' Left Bank Pictures, Peter Morgan and such a talented team.'
Harries added: 'Our goal is to tell a wonderful and extraordinary story with universal themes of success, jealousy and betrayal. Brian Clough was an iconic figure and, as with Ealing, is a legend in contemporary popular British culture. This story has a message for us all.'
Ealing Studios International will sell international rights excluding the UK. BBC has UK TV rights and UK theatrical rights are in negotiations.
Ealing head of sales Natalie Brenner is at the AFM with a slate that also includes Julian Fellowes' From Time To Time and Oliver Parker and Barnaby Thompson's update of St Trinian's.