Former partner of French President Francois Hollande
Paris - AFP
A movie adaptation of a kiss-and-tell bestselling book that deeply embarrassed French President Francois Hollande is in the works after his journalist ex-girlfriend who wrote it agreed to team up with a producer friend.
The producer, Saida Jawad, told French celebrity magazine Gala in an interview published on Monday that she and Hollande's ex, Valerie Trierweiler, "are currently developing the movie adaptation of the bestseller and are looking at co-productions with French and international companies".
The news will be a fresh blow to Hollande, who was embarrassed by Trierweiler's book, "Thank You for this Moment" ("Merci Pour Ce Moment" in French), which first came out last September before being translated into 12 languages including English.
The memoir lays bare the turbulent, six-year relationship that Trierweiler experienced with Hollande, including 18 months by his side after he became president in 2012. It portrays France's unpopular Socialist head of state as a callous egotist and -- perhaps most damagingly -- alleges he once insulted the poor as "toothless".
Trierweiler's relationship ended a year ago when another French celebrity magazine, Closer, published photos of Hollande cheating on her with a glamorous actress, Julie Gayet.
Jawad, who is also an actress as well as a screenwriter and a producer through her company Romarin Films, said "I guarantee that you will discover new things" in the movie adaptation. She said Trierweiler -- whom she described as a very close friend -- would have final say over the film.
- 'Not a controversial film' -
The biopic would require changes from the book to make it work for the big screen, notably with the character representing Trierweiler "recounting her story to a confidante, so the political context is better understood," Jawad said.
But Jawad added: "I'm not looking to make a controversial film, I just want to tell the story of the fight of a woman in love, even if the story is exceptional because the man she loves is the president."
Trierweiler, 49, who works for French magazine Paris Match, has already earned more than 1.3 million euros ($1.5 million) in France alone from her book, according to her publisher. It remains in the top three books being sold in France.
Hollande, whose popularity ratings are hovering near record lows on the back of a stagnating economy, admitted at the end of 2014 that he had been through a "tough year".
He has sought to keep his post-Trierweiler personal life out of the public gaze, but to little effect.
In November, the celebrity magazine Voici published new photos of him and Gayet on a private terrace of the presidential palace, prompting him to transfer five of his staff who might have taken the snaps to other posts.
The only companion Hollande is now officially said to be frolicking with is a black Labrador puppy named Philae, given to him for Christmas by Canadian war veterans.