EXCLUSIVE: Likely Story’s Anthony Bregman and Stefanie Azpiazu have acquired film rights to The World As It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House, the bestselling memoir by Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, a first-hand account of the eight years of the Obama presidency as observed by one of his closest aides.
Several bidders were in the mix for an auction conducted by Anonymous Content’s Howie Sanders and Elyse Cheney of The Cheney Agency. Likely Story plans to mount a film to shoot next year for 2020 release. Compared with the daily contentiousness of the Donald Trump presidency, this account will likely make Obama supporters feel nostalgic and wistful for what seems like a different era. Two indie films were made about the formative years of the 44th president in Barry and Southside With You. This could be the first feature about his two terms in the White House. Barack and Michelle Obama aren’t involved; they have made a deal to create content for Netflix.
Rhodes began working with Obama at 29, and his book covers everything from the history-making moment when America’s first black president was elected, to waiting out the bin Laden raid in the Situation Room, responding in real time to the Arab Spring, and starting each morning in the Oval Office with the President’s Daily Briefing. All the while trying to maintain a personal life as a husband and father. The book was published last month by Random House.
“I wanted to paint a picture of what it was like to come of age during eight years in the White House, while illuminating the events that shaped our time,” Rhodes said. “I am excited to be working with Likely Story, Anthony Bregman and Stefanie Azpiazu, who seized upon this combination of the personal and universal — the altogether human experience at the center of things, and the value of telling this story when so much in our politics and world feel unfamiliar.”
Said Bregman: “Ben Rhodes has written a mesmerizing and profound coming-of-age story, set in the White House during the last period of American dominance and influence. It’s a maddening yet hopeful story, equally personal and epic, idealistic and patriotic. It’s The Right Stuff by way of Frank Capra, and it’s exactly what we need.”