Hollywood scrambles to cash in on Petraeus scandal

Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:42am EST
 
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By Sue Zeidler

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Writers with a script about former four-star general David Petraeus' sex scandal can do lunch with anyone in Hollywood.

Studio executives have been huddled in meetings since Monday, sifting through potential scripts that can be tweaked. Agents have been called. Authors are getting e-mails.

"This will create great film and book interest," said literary agent Judi Farkas who represented author Antonio Mendez on the film rights sale of his book "Argo," the Ben Affleck movie based on a CIA mission. "There will be a scramble to corner the various rights," she said.

It's unclear if any of the major players -Petraeus or his lover, biographer Paula Broadwell - will sell the rights to their affair and give moviemakers the inside story that would have the best chance of becoming a hit movie or HBO docudrama, say agents.

"You can do a story ripped from headlines, but that might make studios nervous, particularly if they want to dramatize and portray peoples' personal lives," said entertainment lawyer Jay Cooper, quipping a film should be dubbed "General Strangelove."

A made-for-TV movie would be the fastest route to the consumer and could hit the small screen in as quickly as a year, experts say. A movie would hit theaters after the sex scandal has faded into memory.

"This scandal is shaping up to have a lot of elements that Hollywood and the public look for. Cover ups, conspiracies, the CIA, high-level political officials, affairs," said Hollywood producer Chris Armstrong.

Jay Roach, director of the Sarah Palin-based HBO movie "Game Change," has said he talked with film studios but wound up at the cable network. The movie drew a record 3.6 million viewers over its opening weekend, said HBO.   Continued...

 
Lieutenant General David Petraeus testifies to the Senate Armed Forces Committee about his nomination to be general and commander of the Multi-National Forces in Iraq at a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, January, 23, 2007. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts