Whether you like it or not, Shattered, the incendiary book that delves into Hillary Clinton’s fraught presidential campaign, is being made into a limited series. Though Hollywood has never been one to let the dust settle on a historical event before dramatizing it for profit, six months after the election gives a whole new meaning to the words “too soon”.
Not only are Clinton and her surrogates still licking their wounds from the most shocking political defeat in U.S. history but the country’s psyche as a whole has yet to fully recover. So why is Sony Pictures Television so eager to turn a national tragedy into prime time content?
Well, for one, the book is juicier than a $60 steak. Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes have crafted a devastating autopsy of Clinton’s campaign, which according to their reporting was poisoned by infighting. It’s so damning, that many of Clinton’s campaign staffers have already pushed back on some of its claims.
Another reason might be the success of other ripped-from-the-headlines political dramas. Game Change—which examined how Sarah Palin helped tank John McCain’s campaign—won five Emmys, while House of Cards—which chronicles the political rise of a sociopath—pretty much gave birth to modern Netflix. (Wait, is that based on a true story? We can’t tell anymore).
Or maybe it’s because while Clinton’s loss was certainly traumatic for a huge swath of the coutnry, it’s not a real tragedy. A lot of people took issue with Peter Berg’s decision to make Patriots Day just three years after the Boston Marathon bombing. Paul Greengrass waited five years to revisit 9/11 with United 93, which was apparently enough time since Oliver Stone followed that up with World Trade Center later that year. Since then, we’ve seen nearly a flurry of movies made based on real life tragedies, 13 Hours, Fruitvale Station and Deepwater Horizon among them. When done right, these types of movies can offer a new perspective or fresh insight into how or why something happened and maybe even help us not make the same mistakes again.
Four years from now, that’ll be more important than ever.