This week, Sony Pictures Entertainment optioned the rights to Richard Clarke's "Against All Enemies." The film version of the book is to be produced by John Calley, the former chairman of the entertainment group.
Casting shouldn't be difficult. Rumor has it that Robert Redford will play Richard Clarke, the crusading terrorism chief. No doubt President George W. Bush will be played by Will Ferrell, fresh off his tour-de-force performance in "Elf." Marlon Brando will be rolled onto the set to play Vice President Richard Cheney. Inside sources say Condoleezza Rice will be played by Janet Jackson; some say she won the part with her Rice imitation on "Saturday Night Live."
The movie will be just as unbiased as the book. Perhaps even more so. In fact, an anonymous source has slipped me an early copy of the script. Here are some choice excerpts:
EXT. CAPITOL BUILDING -- DAY
It's Jan. 20, 2001, Inauguration Day for George W. Bush. Outgoing President Bill Clinton stands outside the Capitol Building speaking with Clarke.
Well, Mr. President, it's been a long haul, and a good one. Thanks for your courage and bravery fighting Osama Bin Laden and his evil band.
No, all the praise should go to you, ol' buddy. If we hadn't gotten sidetracked by that silly sex scandal, I would have taken out Al Qaeda. I was just buildin' up to it. They didn't give me enough time.
I know, Mr. President. It was just about sex. And those close-minded prudes ...
FLASH to grainy photo of Kenneth Starr and then back to Clarke.
CLARKE (tears rolling down his face)
... just didn't let you do the job for which you were elected. Well, so long, Mr. President.
I'll never forget what you've done for our country.
WHITE HOUSE CORRIDOR -- DAY
Richard Clarke and Condoleezza Rice are walking to a meeting with President Bush.
Condi, this is stuff you need to pay attention to. Look, Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are setting up sleeper cells in this country.
RICE (with a puzzled expression)
CLARKE (exasperated, disbelievingly)
You know, Al Qaeda? They attacked us in 1993? They bombed the USS Cole?
RICE (still looking puzzled)
Oh, you mean Saddam? Iraq?
No! Osama Bin Laden. Clinton knew who he was! You should, too! Time is running out! Who knows, they might even hijack airplanes and hit the World Trade Centers and Pentagon, say around the second week in September!
Sure, and Enron will collapse, too.
CLARKE'S OFFICE -- DAY
Clarke is at his desk. He's leafing through a stack of papers, when one catches his eye. The title of the memo is "Bin Laden Determined to Strike U.S." Clarke leaps to his feet, then runs out of his office.
OVAL OFFICE -- DAY
Clarke runs into the Oval Office, breathless. President Bush sits at his desk, playing Mario Bros. on his Game Boy.
Mr. President, my suspicions have been confirmed. I've warned you -- WARNED YOU! -- that Osama was planning something big.
Bin Laden! How many times do I have to tell you people?!
Osama is a funny word. Osama, Kerbama, Romama, Yurmama, Cherbama, Blamgama, Pajama ...
Clarke storms out as Bush continues to babble mindlessly.
Video of Sept. 11 World Trade Center attacks.
V.O. of news anchors reporting the attacks.
INT. CABINET ROOM
BUSH (to Clarke)
This was Saddam.
Mr. President, there's no evidence of that. This looks like the work of Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden.
Don't lie to me, Richie. You're either with us, or against us. This was done by Saddam. He tried to kill my daddy, and I'm gonna make that sucker pay.
Mr. President, there's no evidence that Saddam had anything to do with this! I've been warning you about Osama for months!
BUSH (begins to suck his thumb, petulantly)
Well, fine, if you say so. But try to find out how Saddam's involved. Do I at least get to bomb somebody? Somebody Muslim? I hate those ragheads. They don't believe in my favorite philosopher, Jesus.
That's what Pat and Jerry told me.
Vice President Cheney enters the room.
I'll take it from here, George. You go back to playing with your blocks. And, yes, we get to bomb somebody.
Cheney puts his arm around Bush and smiles evilly.