Obama: Election Day Write Stuff | Valkyrie: Now Starring … Kenneth Branagh? | Def Jam Tragedy

Obama: Election Day Write Stuff

Whatever happens today with the presidential election, this much is a result: Barack Obama is a bestselling author.

And if the results of book sales translate into electoral votes, we could guess who wins today’s election without having to wait until polls close.

Obama’s words are interesting enough that he has not one but two books on the Amazon.com bestseller’s list. His "Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" stands at No. 96 overall, of all books. That’s pretty impressive considering it’s hardcover only and sells on Amazon for $15.57. (The retail price is $25.95.)

Obama’s paperback, "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream," sells for just $7.99, which is like, almost free. That puts it at No. 39 for all books.

By contrast, John McCain’s "Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir," also priced on Amazon at $7.99, is holding steady at No. 1,393.

McCain’s other paperback, "Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life," is at No. 10,736. It also sells for $7.99.

Meanwhile, Obama’s chief naysayer, Jerome Corsi, would like just a few of those readers. His "Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality," registers at only No. 1,271 as of last night.

On the vice presidential side, things aren’t so good for either candidate. But Sarah Palin’s freshness to the national political stage gives her some advantage. A biography of her by Kaylene Johnson called "Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned the Political Establishment Upside Down" is at No. 669. Joe Biden’s most recent book, "Promises to Keep," is sitting largely unread and unloved at No. 43,523.

Valkyrie: Now Starring … Kenneth Branagh?

There’s yet a new trailer for Bryan Singer’s "Valkyrie," and this one seems to star … Kenneth Branagh.

That’s right. This is in a continuing effort — and I must say well executed one — to distance this troubled movie from earlier pictures of Tom Cruise and his unfortunate eye patch.

In the latest trailer, it’s Branagh who is seen first, along with well known British actors Tom Wilkinson and Terence Stamp. Heart pounding pulsating drum punctuating music plays as these actors describe what "Valkyrie" is about.

Only then is Cruise seen, but not in his original image with an eye patch and injury. Instead, it’s the "Lawrence of Arabia" version of Col. Claus von Stauffenberg that was introduced in the second trailer. And then, capitalizing on Cruise’s "Top Gun" persona that made him an international star, a fighter plan soars over Cruise’s head.

The new "Valkyrie" trailer, in fact, downplays Cruise as von Stauffenberg so much that at its conclusion a voice over introduces his character to Adolf Hitler as "Col. Stauffenberg," dropping the "von" part of his name and the very German-ness of it.

All of this goes along with the movie’s new Web site, which features a new, very creative poster. In it, not only is Cruise lacking von Stauffenberg’s eye patch, but all sign that the actors are playing Nazi soldiers. Indeed, Stamp seems to be wearing nothing but a dark business suit and tie. The way the other actors’ costumes are shadowed and airbrushed they could be nothing more than airline pilots.

But all is fair in war and film marketing when it comes to trailers and Web sites. And MGM, which is fighting for its life with "Valkyrie" and the new James Bond movie, is free to be as creative as it needs to be this fall.

With "Valkyrie" it has special problems, too, since there are no fewer than four movies this December with Nazi storylines. The most promising one is "The Reader," which at least has a romance at its core and a naked Kate Winslet!

Def Jam Tragedy

The folks at Island/DefJam Records are mourning the loss of Shakir Stewart, the 34-year-old executive vice president of the label overseen by L.A. Reid.

Stewart committed suicide over the weekend, shocking his colleagues, friends, and the recording artists he was close to including Beyonce and Jay Z.

I’m told drugs were not a factor, and that Stewart didn’t leave any kind of note.

His fiancée issued a statement that read in part: "It is difficult to express or explain in words what led to the tragic occurrence on Saturday. Over the past several weeks, Shakir's behavior was inconsistent with the man we all know and love. As much as we all tried to help him, Shakir was in deep pain and largely suffering in silence. Please remember Shakir for who he was ... a wonderful father, partner, son and friend."