Miller To Leave 'Times' With Movie Deal In Hand
Signs On To Star In Memento Sequel; Not Sure If She Will Continue Freelancing For Bush Admn.
Miramax announced this morning that they have signed now former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who will star in an upcoming sequel to the 2000 hit film, 'Memento'.
Miller, who was jailed for 85-days in the CIA Agent Leak Case, gave her notice of resignation to 'Times' editor William Keller.
Keller, who along with New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publicly defended Miller during her recent jailing over the refusal to divulge confidential sources in the CIA Agent Leak Case, said he was "disturbed" by the news of Miller's sudden resignation.
"I haven't spoken directly to Judy yet," said Keller, who is meeting with 'Times' correspondents in Asia, "but if this is not a hoax, then I would have to say there may have been some other things Judy didn't tell us about."
Miller, who has been under increasing fire by other journalists as being a "shill" for the Bush Administration, in its' run-up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, recently said in a personal account published in last Sunday's 'New York Times', that she couldn't "recall" who gave her the name of CIA Agent Valerie Plame.
"Mr. Fitzgerald asked me about another entry in my notebook, where I had written the words "Valerie Flame," clearly a reference to Ms. Plame. Mr. Fitzgerald wanted to know whether the entry was based on my conversations with Mr. Libby. I said I didn't think so. I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall."
Libby was part of a group called "The White House Iraq Group", whose members included Karl Rove, Andrew Card, Condoleezza Rice, James R. Wilkinson, Stephen Hadley, Karen Hughes and Mary Matalin.
WHIG, as the group became known had the mission to "market the war in Iraq" with hyped threats of nuclear mushroom clouds and that Saddam Hussian was seeking to purchase materials to make nuclear weapons.
Miller's front-page reporting, often quoting government sources were later debunked and the 'Times' was forced to correct and clarify five-of-six articles Miller wrote about the alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction that the Bush Administration used as a preamble to war.
Harvey Weinstein, chief of Miramax, said in a statement that he was "elated" to sign Miller for "Memento II", which is the tentative working title.
Miramax purchased the rights to 'Memento', which was produced and released in 2000 by Columbia-Tri Star, now owned by Sony Pictures. The film starred Guy Pearce as a insurance investigator who suffered a head injury during the murder of his wife. He goes through the film, searching for the killers and, to compensate for his lack-of-memory, he tattoos notes on himself and takes Polaroid's to help him remember clues.
"We knew,' said Weinstein, "that this leak case was going to be the biggest political scandal since Watergate and to have one of the key figures of it for the film is just tremendous."
In the sequel, Miller will play an investigative reporter who wakes up in a motel room with no memory. Littered around the room are reporter notebooks and Miller spends the film going through the notebooks - which contain clues in her own handwriting as well as others - to reclaim her memory.
In the shadows, following Miller, is an enigmatic character, wearing a cowboy hat, boots and sunglasses. There is a clue in a notebook about him but she can't remember who gave her the clue.
Miller's departure from the 'Times' comes, perhaps, days before Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald issues either indictments, a report on his two-year investigation or, extends the grand jury, which is due to expire on October 28th.
While Fitzgerald has not leaked any information, or made any statements on the investigation, speculation is running like wildfire that White House Special Council Karl Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby, chief of staff for Vice President Cheney, will be indicted.
It has come out in testimony to the grand jury, as told by lawyers who appeared before it, that Rove was the source for Matthew Copper of "Time' Magazine and one of two sources for columnist Robert Novak, who's writing identifying Valerie Plame launched the complaint that started the investigation.
Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft was looking into the leak but was forced to recuse himself under conflict-of-interest ethics by Justice Department staff members. That lead to the appointment of a special prosecutor, who turned out to be Patrick Fitzgerald.
Both Rove and Libby initially denied any involvement in the leak case and Rove, subsequently, has appeared before Fitzgerald and the grand jury four-times.
A spokesperson for Ms. Miller refused comment on the news of resigning and the film role and would neither confirm or deny if Miller will continue to write articles favortable to the Bush Administration as a freelance journalist.
Weinstein offered that shooting for the film will begin next month and, hopefully "timed to be released when the trials start."
"I hope Judith gets called to testify," admitted Weinstein, "Or even, gets indicted herself. You can't buy publicity like that."
When reached for comment, White House Chief of Staff Andy Card refused comment on the case and said only that he hopes "they don't release the film in August".
Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller makes her way through the gathered media, on her way to the set of 'Memento II', which she recently signed to star in.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005