West Wing” creator and writer Aaron Sorkin has completed his screenplay based on the book “Charlie Wilson’s War,” about former Rep. Charles Wilson, D-Texas. Filming is scheduled for late spring after Tom Hanks finishes shooting “The Da Vinci Code.” Wilson told me yesterday from his home in Texas that he doesn’t have any tips for Hanks, who optioned the book and will play Wilson in the film. “I wouldn’t give him any advice. Anybody who can play Forrest Gump can do almost anything,” said Wilson, who hasn’t seen the script and, what’s more, has no script approval. “They can portray me as a transvestite dwarf if they want to,” said the tall, outrageous Texan, who earned his nickname, “Good Time Charlie.” He told me he’s more concerned these days with planning his trip to the Rose Bowl than to Afghanistan.
Prizing playwright August Wilson
Howard University is celebrating the legacy of recently deceased award-winning African-American playwright August Wilson. Wilson’s eldest daughter, Sakina Ansari, 35, who lives in Baltimore, will attend the event at Howard on Thursday along with actors who have performed in many of his plays – Charles Dutton (“The Piano Lesson”), Rosalyn Coleman (“Seven Guitars”), local actor Fred Struthers (“Two Trains Running” and “Fences”) and Howard alumnus Gavin Lawrence (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”). Wilson had visited Howard several times. Earlier this year, the university held a symposium about methods of teaching his works. English professor Sandra Shannon said: “We have only just begun to realize the impact that August Wilson has had on African-American culture and the arts.” Wilson died only months after finishing his 10-play cycle chronicling the black experience in 20th-century America. Howard boasts that it is the top producer of on-campus African-American Ph.D.s of any university in the world.
Snyder’s aggressive, entrepreneurial spirit
Looks like Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder’s investment group Red Zone, which owns almost 12 percent of Six Flags’ stock, is well on its way to taking over Six Flags’ 30 theme parks around the country. If all goes as planned, Snyder will take over as chairman of the amusement park company and name Mark Shapiro, one-time Disney/ESPN executive vice president of programming and production, as chief executive. Homebuilding mogul and major GOP fundraiser Dwight Schar of McLean is part of Snyder’s group as well, and would be named a director. He’s chairman and CEO of NVR, the construction company.
Praising ‘Hill’ editor Al Eisele
The Hill newspaper managing editor Albert Eisele will be honored by the Federal City Club at a much-deserved tribute on Wednesday evening at the National Press Club. I knew Al, a Montana native, when he was press secretary to Vice President Walter Mondale. Others may remember that he played minor league baseball with the Cleveland Indians. Former Rep. Jim Symington, who is one of the city’s most talented raconteurs, will emcee the event for the recently retired senior editor and columnist at The Hill.
DeLay outside the Beltway
We hear that the damage to indicted former GOP House majority leader Tom DeLay’s reputation is centered right here in D.C. Even Democrats say he’s so well-entrenched in Texas that he’s virtually guaranteed re-election.
Sheehan gets published
Peace mom Cindy Sheehan’s long vigil last summer outside President Bush’s Crawford, Texas, ranch paid off … but perhaps not in the way she intended. She wasn’t able to convince the president to end the war in Iraq, but she did get a book deal. “Not One More Mother’s Child” hit shelves Wednesday, and now she’s working on a memoir that explores how her son’s death in Iraq moved her to activism.
… And time to give thanks
Sheehan is taking a break from writing this weekend to resume her protests in Crawford, while we’re making the rounds of the annual Turkey Day festivities. As tradition dictates, Nina and Ray Benton’s Northwest D.C. home, the first stop for Bloody Marys yesterday morning, was packed with well-wishers before everyone headed in various directions for family gatherings. And this afternoon, well-connected hostess Esther Coopersmith will have high-powered friends to her annual lavish dessert buffet at her Kalorama home – as if we didn’t eat enough yesterday