DreamWorks Studios has closed a preemptive deal to re-team on an American historical drama, acquiring film rights to Doris Kearns Goodwin’s soon-to-be-released book “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.”
Goodwin previously collaborated with the studio on “Lincoln,” directed by DreamWorks topper Steven Spielberg and based in part on Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.”
No director has been attached yet for “The Bully Pulpit,” which will be released Nov. 5 by Simon & Schuster. The book, seven years in the making, tells the story of longtime friends and political collaborators who became bitter opponents, culminating in the 1912 Presidential election in which Taft ran as the Republican incumbent and Roosevelt campaigned as head of the Bull Moose party but both were defeated by Democrat Woodrow Wilson.
“Doris has once again given us the best seats in the house where we can watch two dynamic American personalities in a battle for power and friendship,” Spielberg said.
“Lincoln” received a dozen Oscar nominations, with Daniel Day-Lewis winning the best actor trophy. The film performed surprisingly well at the box office with worldwide grosses of more than $270 million.
“Working with Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks on Lincoln seemed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Doris Kearns Goodwin. “I cannot imagine anything better than the prospect of working with them again, this time to bring Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft to life.”
Goodwin was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in history for “No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II.” She was represented in the deal by ICM.
“Bully Pulpit” is the second major book to be acquired by Hollywood for a feature film adaptation from the WWI era in recent weeks. Warner Bros. picked up feature rights in mid-September to A. Scott Berg’s “Wilson” biography and set it up with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way banner as a potential starring vehicle for the “Great Gatsby” actor.