The family of the 91-year-old former FBI man Mark Felt who was the Watergate source "Deep Throat" has signed book and film deals and Tom Hanks will produce the movie, his publisher said on Thursday.
Peter Osnos, publisher of PublicAffairs, said the book was provisionally titled "A G-Man's Life: The FBI, Being 'Deep Throat' and the Struggle for Honor in Washington."
"G-man" is slang for an FBI or other government agent.
Felt published a book about the FBI in 1979 and Osnos said he continued to write about his life after that, including about his decision to break the rules and leak information to The Washington Post about the Watergate scandal.
The book will be a combination of autobiography and biography, using material Felt had written in the past, a manuscript based on stories he told his grandson, and reporting by John O'Connor, who wrote the Vanity Fair article revealing his identity at the end of May.
"There are letters and memos," Osnos said, adding that he had not met Felt himself and did not expect him to take an active role in the book due to his age. "We can assume the bulk of his contribution to the work was done in recent years."
Felt's revelations about President Richard Nixon's attempt to obstruct justice helped bring down the president in 1974, leading some to consider him a hero and others to condemn him as a traitor who betrayed his loyalties to the FBI.
"The story is clearly the decision by a career G-man, an FBI man to the soles of his feet, to challenge the president of the United States," Osnos said. "What repulsed him was the corruption in the White House."
"He obviously was a man who cared very strongly and very intensely about what was going on and that's very clear from the material," said Osnos, a former Washington Post reporter who worked in Washington at the time of Watergate.
Universal Pictures has optioned the rights to the film about the former FBI No. 2.
A Universal spokesman said the deal was signed with Hanks' production company, Playtone, but it was too early to say whether Hanks would play the role of Felt. "At this point he's a producer on the film," spokesman Paul Pflug said.
Osnos declined to comment on financial details of the agreement with Felt's family, but PublicAffairs generally does not pay advances of more than $75,000. David Kuhn, the agent for the Felt family, also declined to comment on the sums involved in either the book or film deal.
Steve Zeitchik, senior editor at Publishers Weekly, said the relatively long time taken to sign a book deal could indicate early speculation of seven figure bids did not come through, though the deal with PublicAffairs was respectable given its reputation for publishing serious political books.
"They're really quite well known for not spending a lot of money so the inference one could make is the money the agents and authors got came from the movie deal," Zeitchik said.
Bob Woodward, one of the two Washington Post reporters who dealt with "Deep Throat," is due to publish his own book in July, titled "The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate's Deep Throat," through his publisher Simon & Schuster.
Osnos said the Felt book was not in competition with Woodward's as there were two sides to the story, and the Felt book, co-authored by O'Connor, would come out next March.
Osnos said readers shouldn't expect more big surprises.
"The biggest revelation was who was Deep Throat," he said.