Studio nabs rights to 'Election'

Sony has snapped up feature rights to “A Butler Well Served by This Election,” the life story of an African-American butler at the White House, and set up the project with Laura Ziskin.

Deal closed Wednesday, a dozen days after the Washington Post published Wil Haygood’s front-page report on Eugene Allen’s 34 years at the White House.

Allen worked for eight presidents, starting with Harry Truman in 1952 and ending in 1986 with Ronald Reagan. Haygood will be an associate producer and researcher on the project.

“It’s such a moving story that covers such a sweep of history,” Ziskin said.Haygood’s story included reflections by Allen and his wife Helene in an interview a few days before the election of Barack Obama.

Haygood noted that when Allen started work at the White House, he couldn’t even use the public restrooms when he ventured back to his native Virginia.

Helene Allen died on the day before the election and was buried on the same day that the article was published.

ICM reps Haygood.

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