A movie-production company based in Sherman Oaks has agreed to purchase a screenplay written by conservative Orange County Congressman Dana R. Rohrabacher for more than $50,000.
"We've drawn up the contract and we expect to sign by the end of the week," producer James Briley, chief executive officer of Many Brileys Entertainment, said Thursday. "It's a done deal."
The screenplay, entitled "The French Doctoresse," is a World War II melodrama about a woman who commits politically compromising acts while attempting to save the life of her lover and is brought to trial for collabo-rating with the Nazis in occupied France.
Rob Rule, agent for Rohrabacher (R-Lomita),said late Wednesday that he hoped to stage a signing of the contract in Washington "on the steps of the the Lincoln Memorial" as part of a promotional campaign for the movie.
Briley, however, discounted the publicity value of Rohrabacher's Washington connection.
"I don't think the fact that Dana is a congressman will do us any good at all," he said.
Briley added that the script "is huge and not shootable or do-able" as is, but would be used as "a skeleton" for a rewrite by John Briley, best known as the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of "Gandhi."
"Dana deserves the money, though," James Briley added. "He put a lot of time into the script and he will continue to work with us."
The screenplay is based on a true story by Jean Varagnat, the heroine's son, who is credited as Rohrabacher's co-author. The contract calls for the two of them to share evenly in the purchase price, Briley said.
House rules state that earnings from honorariums--generally for speeches--may not exceed 30% of a congressman's annual salary of $75,100. But there currently is no limit on other earned income.
"If they change the rules around here, I might not even be able to accept it," Rohrabacher said last week.
Briley, who recently scouted shooting locations north of Paris, said Rohrabacher's fee will be paid when the movie receives financing. That could take up to a year, he said.
"The French Doctoresse" was attacked recently in the Congress by Rep. Sidney R. Yates (D-Ill.) for "a steamy love scene between the French Doctoress (sic) and . . . a Gestapo agent."
There is, however, no such scene in the screenplay. But another scene, in which Rohrabacher paints Adolf Hitler in a favorable light, "definitely" will be cut, Briley said.