Hollywood studio commissions comedy film based on Obama-era White House video

A comedy film set in the Barack Obama-era White House is heading to the big screen.

The studio Universal Pictures has optioned an as-yet-unreleased book, From the Corner of the Oval, by former White House stenographer Rebecca Dorey-Stein.

Hollywood trade publications are describing the film as a "high-concept workplace comedy".

US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden - their time in office is being made into a movie.
Patrick Smith

US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden - their time in office is being made into a movie.

The book's focus is a young woman living in the US capital who, after her career hits rock bottom, lands a job as a stenographer who transcribes speech in shorthand in the White House.

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Though there is little in the present-day Washington landscape to inspire much humour, the project is a comedy.

POlitical comedies are rare and usually turn up on TV: The cast of Veep - shown here - don't feel good about that.
Kevin Mazur

POlitical comedies are rare and usually turn up on TV: The cast of Veep - shown here - don't feel good about that.

Aside from historical stories, films set in the White House tend either to be turgid action blockbusters (think Olympus Has Fallen), absurd comedies (think The Brady Bunch in the White House) or simply implausible genre pieces (think Independence Day, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter).

There are some proper White House comedies, such as Dick, a parody of the Watergate scandal and the presidency of Richard Nixon.

And there are also stunning pieces, such as Lee Daniels' The Butler, which was based on the life of Eugene Allen, a long-serving butler in the White House.

The West Wing was a popular political TV show that blended drama with laughs.

The West Wing was a popular political TV show that blended drama with laughs.

Television, equally, has a great passion for political and White House stories, though few were sitcoms.

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They included 1970's The Senator - for which Hal Holbrook won a stack of Emmy awards - The West Wing from writer-producer Aaron Sorkin and the UK-to-US reboot House of Cards from Netflix.

Honorable mention: Geena Davis as the first female US president in Commander in Chief; it was a stunning show which deserved to last longer than one season.

Lighter concepts tend to be less successful - think That's My Bush! from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and 1600 Penn, which starred Bill Pullman and Jenna Elfman.

The rare exception: HBO's Veep, which stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

That series reached peak life-imitates-art when Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull unintentionally mimicked a "meaningless" slogan - "continuity and change" - which was used in Louis-Dreyfus's character's presidential campaign.

 - Sydney Morning Herald

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