Simon & Schuster today is about to market the heck out of O, its anonymously written and self-proclaimed provocative novel about Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. That’s right — the campaign that hasn’t happened yet. Supposedly, it’s penned by someone “who’s been in the room with Obama”. This is kinda different from Primary Colors, the thinly disguised roman a clef about Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and also written anonymously until journalist Joe Klein came forward to claim responsibility. That novel sold a ton of copies for rival publishing house Random House, and S&S is obviously trying to capitalize on that success. Will Hollywood bite? “We haven’t discussed it with anyone yet, but it’s early, and no one’s read a thing about it until today,” S&S publisher Jonathan Karp just told Deadline.
Primary Colors was deemed a stiff at the box office when Universal made it into a comedy in 1998 with Mike Nichols directing and Elaine May writing the adapted screenplay. Still, that script was nominated for an Oscar along with Kathy Bates for Supporting Actress. S&S is owned by CBS Inc, so maybe Showtime or even CBS Films might get a crack at it first. Meantime, here’s a (satirical) memo Karp just sent his authors:
On January 25, we’ll be publishing a secret novel simply titled O, about President Obama’s campaign for re-election in 2012. The author of the novel wishes to remain anonymous. You may be asked to comment on whether or not you are the author. If