Tom Hanks linked to film of 'Deep Throat' scandal

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The family of Mark Felt, the former FBI official who revealed himself as Deep Throattwo weeks ago, never made bones about his motives in stepping forward: to cash in. Now his harvest is coming in, with a book and film deal, engineered in part by the actor Tom Hanks, who may play Mr Felt.

In a transaction that may bring the family as much as $1m (£550,000), the rights to the story were bought by PublicAffairs Books, headed by Peter Osnos, who was himself an editor at The Washington Post when Mr Felt was feeding the titbits to the reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward that fuelled Watergate.

Simultaneously, Universal Pictures acquired the rights to the life story of Mr Felt and to his book, which has been tentatively titledA G-Man's Life: The FBI, Being 'Deep Throat' and the Struggle for Honor in Washington. The film will be developed by Hanks' production company in Hollywood, Playtone.

The news prompted speculation that Hanks will assume the role of Deep Throat. Expect to see the actor soon in scenes that show him lurking in a dank parking garage outside Washington DC, only to emerge from the shadows to exchange words with the pencil-chewing reporters, Woodward and Bernstein.

Other publishers reportedly shied away from the Felt story, in part because at 91 years old he is in poor physical shape and his memory of those times more than three decades ago is likely to be shaky. Moreover, Mr Felt hardly has a monopoly over the story. Woodward's own version of the affair and the role played by Mr Felt will be unveiled in his book, The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate's Deep Throat, which is now being rushed to the printers for an accelerated publication date of 6 July.

The Felt book will combine elements of a memoir he wrote in 1979, which did not reveal his secret, as well as input from John O'Connor, a lawyer who has been advising the Felt family and who lifted the veil from their secret in a piece written in Vanity Fair magazine.

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