Michael Clayton is a very good movie. For those that have seen it and are looking for the book “Realm and Conquest”, not “Rome and Conquest” as some film reviewers have mistakenly called it, alas it is not a real book:
Committed to a fully developed back story, Gilroy spent a good deal of time establishing the details of “Realm and Conquest” with production designer Kevin Thompson. “Right from the beginning, when I first read the script, I could tell that `Realm and Conquest’ was going to be a key prop. In the movie it’s a metaphor for truth and justice,” explains the production designer.
In creating the details of the fictional novel, Thompson generated original visuals inspired by German Expressionistic images cut from wood blocks, and Gilroy wrote the first two pages for three chapters of the book. They even went as far as designing a “Realm and Conquest” card game for a scene between Henry and Michael. Thompson offers, “This detail was important to Tony because, in his own life, novels and games similar to `Realm and Conquest’ allow him to connect with his son in a meaningful way.”