My Email From George Santos: HBO Was ‘Scammed’
The ousted U.S. rep shares his thoughts on 'Succession' EP Frank Rich optioning the rights to Mark Chiusano's book about Santos' scandal-ridden life
Andy Lewis from The Optionist checks in on the news that HBO is developing a George Santos film.
Like many, I've been fascinated and entertained by the story of former U.S. Rep. George Santos, the best soap opera Washington has seen in many a year. Obviously, Frank Rich and executives at HBO were equally entertained because on the day after he was expelled from Congress, HBO Films announced it had optioned the rights to The Fabulist: The Lying, Hustling, Grifting, Stealing, and Very American Legend of George Santos by journalist Mark Chiusano for Rich and writer Mike Makowsky to develop for the screen.
The film is pitched as a forensic and darkly comic look at the crazy, unprecedented congressional race on Long Island that led to Santos being elected to Congress.
Of course, as one does, I obtained an email I was told was for George Santos and emailed him what he thinks. This was his answer:
Despite Santos’ critical appraisal, the film has great bonafides. Rich, of course, is the TV and film critic turned beloved liberal New York Times columnist who shifted to Hollywood about 15 years ago. He’s been an EP on Veep and Succession, as well as on documentaries on Stephen Sondheim and Mike Nichols. Makowsky is best known for penning the script for the Emmy-winning TV movie Bad Education. The dark comedy chronicles the largest case of public school embezzlement in American history that occurred at Makowsky's hometown high school in Roslyn, New York, smack in the middle of George Santos' congressional district.
Chusiano's book hasn't made any bestseller lists but has gotten great reviews. Publishers Weekly said it combined “punchy reportage with thoughtful analysis” to create a “richly textured profile [that] makes Santos into a fitting embodiment of today’s declining public faith in politics.” (Fun trivia: Chusiano is the son-in-law of author and political journalist Jonathan Alter.)
Sadly, Santos did not take the bait on my follow-up question of who should play him.