Fresh off of directing the Oscar-nominated Western News of the World, Paul Greengrass has set his eyes on a much news-ier project: Night of Camp David. The political thriller, based on the 1965 book of the same name by Fletcher Knebel, tells the story of a mentally unstable president who begins to slip into paranoia. Sounds a little too familiar…
Per The Hollywood Reporter, Paul Greengrass is set to develop and direct Night of Camp David for Universal, reuniting with the studio behind his Jason Bourne movies. Jed Mercurio, the creator of the BBC/Netflix thriller Bodyguard, is writing the script, which adapts Fletcher Knebel’s 1965 novel about a junior U.S. senator who comes to believe that the president is mentally unbalanced.
Here is the synopsis for the Night of Camp David novel, via Amazon:
Senator Jim MacVeagh is proud to serve his country—and his president, Mark Hollenbach, who has a near-spotless reputation as the vibrant, charismatic leader of MacVeagh’s party and the nation. When Hollenbach begins taking MacVeagh into his confidence, the young senator knows that his star is on the rise.
But then Hollenbach starts summoning MacVeagh in the middle of the night to Camp David. There, the president sits in the dark and rants about his enemies, unfurling insane theories about all the people he says are conspiring against him. They would do anything, President Hollenbach tells the stunned senator, to stop him from setting in motion the grand, unprecedented plans he has to make America a great world power once again.
MacVeagh comes away from these meetings increasingly convinced that the man he once admired has lost his mind. But what can he do? Who can he tell?
Though clearly inspired by Nixon, the book was re-published in 2018 to capitalize on the eerily similar events of the Trump presidency. And though Trump is now out of office, the story can’t help but feel timely — the effects of Trump’s time in the White House are still felt, as are the conspiracy-nut followers who share his paranoia. And a fictional story like this may be more palatable than a straightforward adaptation of real-life events, like television and James Gray are insisting on doing.
Greengrass will also produce Night of Camp David with Gregory Goodman, a frequent collaborator with whom he made News of the World, 22 July, Jason Bourne, and Captain Phillips. Universal’s executive vice president of production, Matt Reilly, will oversee the project on behalf of the studio.
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