As new details about David Petraeus’s sex scandal have emerged, I’ve started to realize that at some point, this should result in an at least one good movie. It’s a crazy story. One of the most respected men in the country has an affair with his much younger biographer, a West Point grad and Harvard instructor. At some point, they break up. He pursues her again. And it seems they reconcile, because she eventually sends angry jealous emails to a female friend of his, at which point the FBI is alerted. The FBI investigator goes on to act wildly inappropriately. The top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan is under investigation for inappropriate emails he sent to one of the women involved. And the two lovers and their families have to deal with the fallout as this becomes a national story.
Paula Broadwell, Petraeus’s mistress, seems to be the easiest to cast. She looks a bit like Vera Farmiga. It would be an interesting role: an accomplished woman who becomes a national punchline as the result of an ill-advised affair.
As for Petraeus, you need a lean middle-aged guy whose voice is more Tom Cruise than George Clooney (not very deep.) Perhaps Tom Hanks should go get himself a gym membership. I saw a clip of Petraeus on Nightline yesterday, and he sounds like Tom Hanks. It could transform into my mom’s least favorite movie, because she usually likes Hanks, and probably doesn’t want to see him play a guy who cheats on his wife.
Not to be indelicate, but there aren’t a lot of name actresses who look like Mrs Petraeus. Maybe Cathy Bates. Although there may be advantages to casting someone more anonymous, so the wife’s response and pain would be more of a surprise to the audience.
The Coen Brothers seem to be the ideal choice for filmmakers, since the material now includes the FBI agent investigating the CIA Director sending shirtless pictures of himself to the woman who got the angry emails from Petraeus’s girlfriend. With Fargo, Burn After Reading and Intolerable Cruelty, Ethan and Joel Coen seem to specialize in slow-moving car crashes.