Elian movie and book(s) in the works

April 25, 2000|By Laura Lippman and Chris Kaltenbach | Laura Lippman and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

The Elian Gonzalez saga is far from over, but already at least one book and one movie about the young Cuban refugee are being developed.

Coming to a TV screen near you next season: "Elian," the movie.

A CBS spokeswoman confirms the network has a movie "in development" for the 2000-2001 season. That means they don't have any stars or behind-the-camera talent lined up yet, but they have been in touch with a production company -- Craig Anderson Productions -- and have every intention of putting something on screen next season. Anderson made the recent CBS miniseries about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings.

CBS president Leslie Moonves was quoted last week, before all the past weekend's drama, as saying that it will be either a two- or a four-hour movie.

"I keep seeing the story grow," he told USA Today. "There's another movie just in all the Janet Reno stuff."

He added that the film would be based mostly on public records, but that the producers have already secured rights to the story from "certain people in the family."

So far, NBC, ABC and Fox aren't rushing to follow suit. But things can change swiftly in TV land. Think of the multiple versions of the Amy Fisher/Joey Buttafuoco story.

On the publishing front, it was announced earlier this month that Ann Louise Bardach had signed a $300,000 deal with Random House to publish "Troubled Waters."

Bardach, who has written extensively about Cuba, also has a cover story in the current issue of George magazine, which was redesigned to take advantage of the weekend's events. (Elian is on the cover of the newsstand issue only, while subscribers will see Al Gore and George W. Bush.)

Random House editor Jonathan Karp told the New York Post that he did not expect to publish the book for at least 18 months. Bardach once interviewed Fidel Castro for Vanity Fair and went to Cuba in February to interview Elian's father.

There may even be some room on Elian's coattails for another author in an entirely different genre.

In February, Publishers Weekly reported that the Gonzalez controversy could help spark interest in the heretofore pseudonymous work of former U.S. Senator Gary Hart, who wrote a novel called "I, Che Guevara," under the name John Blackthorn.

Hart, who has written novels under his own name, unmasked himself in January, saying he used the cover of a pseudonym "in order to write freely on Cuba and Castro," the industry magazine reported.

His previous book as John Blackthorn was the 1999 "Sins of the Fathers," which centered on a plot by Cuban refugees.

"We thought that Cuba is always of interest and would help the book, but we couldn't have planned this," his publicist, Tara Brown of Morrow, told Publishers Weekly.

Sun news services contributed to this report.

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