Madonna’s Manager Gets Rights to Last Days Movie

With the last Left Behind novel topping the bestseller lists and American television preparing for Revelations, an apocalyptic thriller penned by Omen author David Seltzer (see here), comes news (via email from Publishers Lunch) that the film rights have been bought for Joel C. Rosenberg’s novels The Last Jihad and The Last Days. Weirdly, the rights have been acquired by Freddie DeMann; DeMann has produced a couple of films, but he is better known as sometime manager to Madonna and Michael Jackson.

Rosenberg is an Evangelical Christian of Jewish Orthodox background, and he has an impressive conservative CV, according to his website: political columnist for World magazine, collaborator with Steve Forbes on a number of Regnery titles, Rush Limbaugh’s Research Director, and employee of Benjamin Netanyahu. Both of his novels are published by Forge, an imprint of the firm that also owns the SF and fantasy imprint Tor, and to his followers he is a “modern Nostradamus” with “eerily prescient” imaginative abilities. His website gives examples, the most impressive being that The Last Jihad features Islamic fundamentalists using a hijacked plane to attack an American city, months before 9/11. (That this rather obvious method of terrorism had also previously been imagined by William Pierce and the Columbine killers, among others, is not noted) His other “Fact or Fiction?” moments concern acts of violence in Israel/Palestine that have been paralleled in real life, such as the deaths of CIA agents in last October’s Gaza bombing. He also helpfully provides links to show why his prediction of Yasser Arafat’s assassination may well come true, and would be a good thing.

The books themselves are standard schlock, although the novels may require considerable reworking for the big screen, since the first one features Saddam Hussein as a major character. Reviewer Patrick Anderson describes The Last Jihad:

The president is James MacPherson — Vietnam hero, Wall Street legend, former governor of Colorado — who has succeeded George W. Bush. Between them, Bush and MacPherson have brought joy to our troubled land. The war on terrorism is won, Osama bin Laden is dead, and al-Qaeda is obliterated. Taxes are low, employment high and our hearts even higher: “Presidential promises made were promises kept. And the sense of relief is palpable.”

However, Saddam is plotting his “Last Jihad” just as Israelis and Palestinians are about to enjoy peace as the result of an oil bonanza. Israeli intelligence discovers that Saddam has acquired nuclear Scuds, and the novel ends with (*spoiler*) the US President nuking Baghdad. As Rosenberg explains:

After working in Washington for a decade at that point—most recently for former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky—I was convinced that the threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was real and that American policymakers were not properly focused on that threat. I wrote The Last Jihad almost as a Paul Revere-like exercise to raise people’s awareness of what could happen if we ignored Saddam Hussein for too long. I never imagined it would be published just as the debate over Iraq was heating up and just months before coalition forces went to war.

Rosenberg is generous enough to reproduce an NY Times profile that describes the books as “not very good novels. The plots streak along at breakneck speed. But there is no subtlety and no attempt at character development.” The profile links his success to his connections on the right, with endorsements coming from Limbaugh and Oliver North.

Talking about the apocalyptic element to his novels, Rosenberg explains that Jesus gave

His followers a checklist, a “Road Map,” if you will, of things to watch for. And the research I began coming across was so intriguing, I decided to name my next novel THE LAST DAYS and begin raising the same questions for others.

The LaHaye and Jenkins bandwagon, of course, had nothing to do with it.

(NB – Don’t confuse Joel C. Rosenberg with fantasy author Joel Rosenberg)

UPDATE (7 May): See my post for today.