Hillary Clinton, Louise Penny’s ‘State of Terror’ Sells Movie Rights to Gigi Pritzker’s Madison Wells

Hillary Rodham Clinton has done a lot in her long career. But until now none of the tomes written by the former secretary of state, U.S. senator, first lady and winner of the popular vote have gotten the big screen treatment. That could change.

Madison Wells, Gigi Pritzker’s entertainment company, has acquired and will develop a feature adaptation of “State of Terror,” a thriller that Clinton penned with help for best-selling writer Louise Penny. Both writers will serve as consultants on the project, as well as executive producers. Clinton certainly knows of what she writes. “State of Terror” is rooted in Foggy Bottom intrigue. It follows a novice Secretary of State Ellen Adams, who is unexpectedly brought into the administration by a newly-elected president, her political and personal adversary. Clinton, of course, got the state department gig after losing out in the 2008 presidential election to Barack Obama.

Penny is the writer of the Inspector Gamache series. Clinton has authored a number of books in her day, such as “It Takes a Village” and “Living History.” This is her first stab at potboiler territory. Her husband, Bill Clinton, has co-authored two mystery novels with James Patterson since leaving the White House. Showtime bought the rights to one of their books, “The President Is Missing,” and planned to turn it into a television series, but scrapped the show after COVID-19 hit.

Madison Wells describes itself as a company “with a strong bias towards stories for, by, and about badass women, as well as people who love pushing boundaries.” The company recently backed the Oscar-nominated “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” and “India Sweets and Spices,” which featured an all-Indian cast. In a statement, Pritzker said that “State of Terror” is firmly in the company’s foundational credo.

“I have been a fan of this genre of literature my whole life and once I got my hands on this book, I couldn’t put it down. We rarely have the opportunity to see women as the main characters in a complex international thriller like this,” said Pritzker. “I have been fortunate to have worked with amazing people to tell important stories. However, to be able to partner with these two accomplished and exemplary women to adapt this compelling story they created together is a career highlight, and professionally represents our commitment to telling meaningful stories across film, TV, live theatre and podcasts.”

HiddenLight Productions, which was founded by Hillary Clinton, Sam Branson and Chelsea Clinton, will produce “State of Terror.” Pritzker and Head of Film and TV Rachel Shane will produce the feature adaptation for Madison Wells.

“Just when I thought co-writing ‘State of Terror’ with my amazing friend Hillary could not get more exhilarating, along comes the remarkable opportunity to work with Gigi and Rachel at Madison Wells. Talk about badass women!” said Penny. “Together we promise to create a production that will entertain, thrill, give pause for thought and perhaps even laughter, move the viewers, and break boundaries. Onward!”

“It’s particularly exciting to be collaborating with such a talented team of women and we couldn’t be more excited to see this story come to life,” Clinton said.

Clinton is represented by Bob Barnett and Michael O’Connor of Williams & Connolly and Tara Kole of Johnson, Shapiro, Slewett and Kole. Penny is repped by David Gernert at the Gernert Company, WME and Eric Brown. WME also represents HiddenLight.

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