EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures is finalizing a deal for The Politician, the spec script I wrote about yesterday, written by Theodore Bressman and Matthew Bass and produced by Mark Gordon and Point Grey Pictures’ Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver. The deal landed in the mid- against high-six-figure range for the scribes, who were formerly the assistants of Rogen and Goldberg.
The film is an action comedy that follows a disgraced Governor and his accomplice on the run from the FBI and U.S. Marshals. Along the way, he is kidnapped by a disgruntled constituent, who is crazier than the pol. It’s Bad Santa meets Midnight Run, and the parallel would be Elliot Spitzer was busted for prostitutes, and when he feds discovered he was a white collar criminal, he fled custody. He’s not the only pol in trouble, as there is Toronto mayor Rob Ford hanging on after admitting to drug use, and Anthony Weiner, whose mayoral campaign went flaccid after it was revealed he had gone back to sexting under the moniker Carlos Danger. It is certainly a topical premise.
The scribes tell me that when they started the project with a premise hatched by Rogen and Goldberg, it began as Bernie Madoff on the run. “It was called The Stockbroker, and then Tower Heist came out and we needed another guy,” said Bressman. Fortunately, opportunity presented itself during the Spitzer scandal, followed by Chicago Rod Blagojevich, followed by Weiner, and then Toronto’s Ford. “People said how timely this was given the Toronto mayor, but we’ve done about 80 drafts of this script, and it seemed like every two months there was an amazing new political scandal,” Bass said. “We would email each other with footage of press conferences and outrageous behavior. We see the Toronto mayor saying he smoked crack during a drunken stupor, and I say, man, I never would have thought to write that.” Other influences included President Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and even the late Senator Ted Kennedy. The latter is mentioned in passing, when the protagonist recalls “a coke snorting bender with Teddy.” This is not going to be a politically correct film.
Bressman and Bass said that they followed the Pineapple Express and Superbad models done by their mentors Rogen and Goldberg, which proved to be a reliable template for buddy comedy laughs. Bass, who left his Point Grey assistant job when he sold a script to Showtime, had spent most of his time running Rogen’s Hilarity For Charity, which raises money to combat Alzheimer’s. Bressman set up the comedy Field Trip at Paramount and Montecito, and just directed web spot for the vidgame company EA.
Hannah Minghella and Andrea Giannetti will oversee for Sony, and Drew Simon is overseeing The Mark Gordon Company. Bressman is repped by WME and Principato Young, and Bass is repped by Julian Rosenberg at Circle of Confusion.