Friday, April 24, 2009

"History on Trial" Optioned for a Movie

Check out this article in today's Variety and the blog, Cinematical.

As the Variety article notes, the producers of the Soloist have teamed up with Participation Media to make the film. Participation, established by Jeff Skoll, one of the founders of eBay, has made An Inconvenient Truth, The Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson's War, and the Sesame Street Story.

A caveat: Optioned is a long way from buying your popcorn for the movie.

So sit tight.


4am said...

It's very exciting.


Congratulations, Deborah! The movie should go a long way to helping educate people about the Holocaust. Good on ya, mate!

As for options and popcorn, yes, there is thing in Hollywood called "development Hell" and as you know, it means that once a book has had its movie rights OPTIONED for a possible motion picture, these rights can sit in limbo for years and years until all the dots are connected and the movie gets the money and casting to get greenlighted. It takes a long time, from 5 to 25 years in some cases. But I feel that your movie will get made and soon. Mazel tov!


this IS interesting!

..."....the partners behind The Soloist are getting ready to prove that the Holocaust existed. Variety reports that Participant Media and Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment are gearing up for History on Trial. The book, written by Deborah Lipstadt, a prof of Jewish Studies at Emory, follows her experience trying to prove that the Holocaust existed.

Basically, she named David Irving (author of WWII books) as a Holocaust denier in a book about the denial movement, and he sued her. Under British law, the burden of proof landed at her feet and the trial became a he-said, she-said about whether the Holocaust happened, including claims from him that Anne Frank's diary was a romantic novel and "more people died in Ted Kennedy's car at Chappaquidick than in the gas chambers at Auschwitz." Max Borenstein will pen the adaptation, and as of now, no director is attached. It's way too early to cast, but I'm going to throw out a name anyway -- Emma Thompson as Lipstadt.

Ian Thal said...

Mazel tov! Yes, I know that optioning is just that: an option, a possibility, but it is a possibility that wasn't present before.

I recently completed a play which happens to deal with Holocaust deniers (so reading Prof. Lipstadt's work was part of my research), and even did well in a playwriting competition-- but that is still a long way from getting produced on the stage-- but again, sometimes what's important is that possibilities now exist that did not before.

Tamar Orvell said...

Buy popcorn? Not I... unless we're talking about placing loose kernels in a microwavable air-popper 2-3 minutes! Hooray for healthy snacking. Yet, more important, hooray for truth trumping tissues of lies. Increasingly, audiences and media will rise to remember the murdered and to guard proactively against another Shoah. Kol hakavod, Deborah.

SchoolPsyc said...

I love that idea of Emma Thompson. I cannot think of too many actresses able to manage such a role, and she would be in the running for sure.

Pedro Botelho said...

I was astonished by your recent interview to JTA where you say that "we didn't prove what happened, we proved that what they [the deniers] say happened did not happen."

This is a pure and simple invitation to debate, if not denial in itself. How in heaven do you expect people to believe if they are told we have no proof?

What next? If you're turning into a revisionist, shouldn't we be campaigning for others to refuse to debate you or publish your books?

Deborah Lipstadt said...

I have a hard time taking you seriously. Clearly, you understand little about my trial. i would suggest you read HIstory on Trial.

In short, we did not feel it was necessary to prove the Holocaust happened. [Do we have trials proving the Korean War happened? Or WWI?]

Our job was to prove I had not committed libel. We had to prove that I told the truth. [I am being very basic here just in case it is necessary.] I said "David Irving twists the truth, he lies, and he knows it."

Our job in the courtroom was to prove that. Well you prove that by showing that he is a liar and you do that by pulling the ground out from under him.

When he says, "I have a document which says the Holocaust was impossible." You show the court that the documents says nothing of the sort. and you do it over and over again... as we did.

If you think this means I am turning into a revisionist than I am not sure why i am wasting my time bothering to answer you.

What it did was pull the ground out from under the deniers' claims. it showed that they were all based on lies, distortions, and false claims.

go to and read the verdict. Part XIII.

Maybe you should read some of the things I write before calling me a "revisionist," a word i don't use anyway.

Pedro Botelho said...

DL: "In short, we did not feel it was necessary to prove the Holocaust happened. [Do we have trials proving the Korean War happened? Or WWI?]"Of course we don't! We know the Korean War and WWI happened. But if we had had such trials, would you have dared to claim that we have no proofs of the Korean War or WWI, because we did not feel it was necessary to prove anything?

DL: "I said David Irving twists the truth, he lies, and he knows it.'"So how is it possible for you to say Irving is a denier and next thing to claim that we have no proof of what he denies?! That's exactly what deniers say, for G-d's sake!

You have the effrontery to say that "we didn't prove what happened, we only proved that what they say happened did not happen."

Well, perhaps you have noticed that what deniers say happened is what we say happened did not happen -- that is precisely what the word "denial" means.

You make it sound as if deniers are expected to believe on faith alone, and you simultaneously make the point that in fact, according to you, we have no proof. What in heaven are you driving at?

DL: "Maybe you should read some of the things I write before calling me a 'revisionist,' a word i don't use anyway."I don't need to read anything to recognize your turn of mind. If you don't think the "Holocaust" has been proved, that's called at least "revisionism," like it or not.

I know what deniers say. I've listened to Faurisson, for example, and you're starting to sound like him. See for yourself here. Perhaps you could point out the differences to me - any difference concerning proof.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

who said we don't have proof??

This concludes our exchange...

Koznitzer said...

Who is going to play you, Deborah?

hockey hound said...

Good comes from good. Your courage, Prof. Lipstadt, is become a landmark for truth and an example for all of us to follow.

Not only am I happy for you, Prof. Lipstadt, but I'm also happy for those Jews who, even generations later, suffer because of the Holocaust. May this news [of a movie] be a source of consolation for them.

Look how your courage is doing so much good, Prof. Lipstadt.

"Most people may indeed never appreciate that they ultimately have a stake in ensuring that those of different communities, nationalities, and faiths remain strong in their identities." -Natan Sharansky

"Send your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it." -Ecclesiastes 11:1

Unknown said...

I once heard it said that an option is as different from a movie as a diaper is from a doctoral dissertation; you can't get to the latter without going through the former, but there are lots more diapers than dissertations out there.

Nevertheless, this is good news.

StGuyFawkes said...

To all:

Just for grins I looked up Christopher Hitchen's famous Vanity Fair piece about David Irving and the libel trial. I found in Hitchen's conclusions a comment that I couldn't help but laugh over.

Hitchen's says that the libel trial demolished Irving's reputation as an historian.

Then he adds that it even hurt Irving's standing among Holocaust deniers because:

"....the efforts of a few obsessive outsiders ......also provoked a grand crisis in the "Holocaust denial" milieu, which now subdivides yet again between those who see Irving as a martyr and THOSE WHO SEE HIM AS A CONSCIOUS, DEDICATED AGENT OF ZIONISM WHO LET DOWN THE TEAM."
(emphasis mine)

David Irving, agent of Zionism!

Here we have the very definition of clinical paranoia.

Amy Guskin said...

Congratulations! Let's hope the script doesn't float around in development and multiple options as long as "Evita" did. Who would _you_ like to play you in the film, Dr. Lipstadt?

Shuly said...

That is really exciting news. I have followed your writing and work over the years (partially because my grandmother Yetta was your mother's sister). Though ultimately people will believe what they wish despite the overwhelming truth staring them in the face, I suppose that does not free us from trying to publicize the truth to what extent we can. Congrats!

Tom said...

Congrats! A great idea for a courtroom drama. Let's hope you have some control over the final version of the shooting script.