Open TV and Film, the London-based production company, is developing a TV mini-series based on Barack Obama’s days on the campaign trail. ITV Studios USA is co-developing the project. Simon Shaps, chairman of Open, has optioned Newsweek journalist Richard Woolfe’s book Renegade: The Making of a President. The author was granted unique access to Obama during the campaign. Shaps – who used to be ITV’s director of television — told me: “It is early days, but we are sure there will no shortage of ideas for who plays the President.”
Open wants to get it on air within the next 12 to 18 months. Shaps tells me that what appealed to him about Woolfe’s book is that it is a multi-layered portrait of Obama, not a simplistic hero worship. “The questions that have since emerged about what he’s going to do with the Presidency were, to some extent, already there during the campaign,” Shaps says. “We will get to the root of what Obama wants to do with America.”
Meanwhile, there’s no recent word on another project about the Obamas announced by African-American filmmaker Tyler Perry (of those Madea movies fame). The Obama donor back in 2008 announced plans to write, direct and produce “a love story inspired by the relationship between Obama and his wife Michelle” after meeting them through pal Oprah Winfrey. Perry had said he dreamed of casting Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett in the lead roles.