Yesterday the Hollywood Reporter revealed that a deal had been made to turn Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury, into a television show.
Michael Wolff’s controversial Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is coming to television.
Endeavor Content — the financing and sales arm formed in October between sister companies William Morris Endeavor and IMG — has purchased film and television rights to the No. 1 best-selling book. The massive deal is said to be in the seven-figure range. Endeavor Content plans to adapt the book as a TV series. A network is not yet attached, as Endeavor will now begin shopping the project.
Wolff will executive produce the series, with veteran Channel 4 and BBC executive Michael Jackson — now CEO of indie producer Two Cities Television — also on board to produce.
In a separate story THR speculated about possible casting choices for the show:
So who has enough intensity to capture Trump’s unique brand of emotional volatility? There’s only one actor, and that would be Nicolas Cage, whose gonzo performances in recent years make him perfectly suited for the job. Like Trump, you never quite know what Cage is going to do from moment to moment. And like Trump, he manages somehow to be simultaneously scary and silly…
Laura Benanti must absolutely reprise her role of Melania from The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Yes, Benanti delivers a wicked, side-splitting parody of the pouty former model turned first lady. But she’s also a serious Broadway actress, and could easily tone it down.
Other recommendations include Russell Crowe as Steve Bannon (not a bad choice) and Katherine Heigl as Ivanka Trump.
My first reaction to hearing this was planned was the thought that there would probably be a serious bidding war among networks for this show. After all, this is what progressives want whenever they are out of power, a TV show that makes them feel better. During the Bush years they had West Wing. After Republicans took over Congress in 2010, progressives had The Newsroom. And now what they clearly need is a show that can remind them why they don’t like President Trump. Again, my first reaction was that this would be an instant hit with the left, but I had second thoughts after reading this take at Collider:
It will be interesting to see how quickly this hits the fast track as networks scramble to tell a timely story but also before the public becomes completely exhausted and bored with Trump. It’s a bit of a tall order to say to people, “Hey, you know how Trump dominates our culture right now with every dumb thing he does? Well how would you like to watch a TV series with more of that?”
To be fair, Wolff’s book is largely filled with not only inaccuracies, but also with people who are trying to push an agenda. Based on what I’ve read so far, if they were to adapt it into a TV series, the central figure wouldn’t be Trump (and boy would that piss him off), but Steve Bannon, a racist pile of sludge who fancies himself a genius. Bannon was obviously a primary source for Wolff, and Wolff fashions Bannon as kind of a tortured visionary, a man of grandiose ambition (despicable as it may be) who struggles to achieve his purpose.
As you can probably tell, the author of this piece is a progressive, but he has a good point that a show featuring Trump might be too much for some people. After all, the West Wing offered the left the fantasy president they wished they had. Would a show about the actual Bush White House, even a very critical one, have been a hit? So, on second thought, I’m wondering if this will work at all. Unless the show features a cartoon version of Trump, it may not be the kind of escapism progressives crave.