Coming soon to a TV near you: Ebola, the TV series
(CNN) — Had enough of Ebola news coverage? Wait until you see the TV series.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, director Ridley Scott and producer Lynda Obst are getting behind a limited TV series based on Richard Preston’s 1994 best-seller, “The Hot Zone.”
The two have actually had the property for years and have been developing its latest iteration for several months. With the disease back in the news — with fear of an epidemic just as timely — the topicality of the subject is all-too-perfect for a series, Obst told the publication.
“I think it’s the speed with which it kills that makes the disease so frightening,” she said. “People hoped it would stay in some remote part of the world. But that’s a fantasy in the modern world. The modern world makes us one big connected family.”
Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 film “Contagion” addressed similar issues. That movie’s screenwriter, Scott Z. Burns, told The Wrap that his main concern is less with the disease itself than with the fear and fear-mongering.
“What scares me more than Ebola are the more mundane viruses of stupidity and fear and partisan politics,” Burns said.
The Ebola outbreak, which started in March, has killed almost 4,500 people in West Africa, and the World Health Organization estimates there could be up to 10,000 new Ebola cases per week in the three hardest-hit nations by the end of the year. However, WHO announced the end of the Ebola outbreak in Senegal on Friday and hopes to do the same with Nigeria on Monday.
In the meantime, a handful of cases have emerged in the United States, fanning concern and leading to the appointment of an “Ebola czar.”
Scott may direct the first episode of the series, says The Hollywood Reporter. Author Preston, who wrote the basis for “The Hot Zone” for The New Yorker in 1992, has another story coming out in the magazine about Ebola soon.
Obst, who is one of the producers of Christopher Nolan’s forthcoming “Interstellar,” has high hopes for the project.
“A limited series is a great way to do this because you don’t have to limit it to a three-act structure like you do with a film,” she said.
By Todd Leopold