Bill Clinton, James Patterson Courting Spielberg, Clooney to Adapt 'President' Book

A heated battle is brewing in Hollywood for film rights to the former president and best-selling author's upcoming novel.
Getty Images; Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company and Knopf
Bill Clinton (left), James Patterson

Hollywood will be getting a visit from one of the most high-profile names in politics this week as a battle begins to brew for the film rights to one of the biggest literary properties of the year.

Former President Bill Clinton and best-selling author James Patterson will be meeting producers to talk about an adaptation of their novel The President Is Missing, due out in June 2018.

CAA's Richard Lovett is handling the rights to the project, which is being treated as a top-secret property. Sources say a 10-page proposal was sent out to buyers and top producers on Monday. It was sent via an expiring link and watermarked. Not everyone who received the proposal will be invited to have a meeting with Clinton and Patterson, however.

Sources say that Clinton and Patterson themselves will meet with interested producers this week. J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg and George Clooney are among those who will be taking in-person meetings with the pair. Producer Steve Bing, known to be a close friend of Clinton, is also said to be getting a meeting.

The project would be the first book-to-film adaptation for Clinton, who has written three books since leaving office in January 2001. Patterson has seen five of his books adapted for the big screen and has served as a producer on the three most recent films. Another eight of his stories have been adapted for TV, most recently the 2015-17 CBS series Zoo. He is working on a CBS pilot, Instinct, based on his book Murder Games.

Plot details on The President Is Missing are scarce, but a May 8 statement announcing the book promised "insider details that only a president can know." Added the 42nd POTUS, "Drawing on what I know about the job, life in the White House and the way Washington works has been a lot of fun."

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