As governments mobilize to help fight off the growing Ebola crisis that has tragically claimed the lives of thousands of West Africans, while spreading across the globe with reports of infected patients in Europe, Canada, and the United States, Hollywood is doing what it does best: trying to make a few bucks off it. Indeed, there’s no tragedy or epidemic that can’t be turned into something, so Ridley Scott is making sure he’s at the forefront of the inevitable run of contagion projects we’re about to get that aren’t Steven Soderbergh‘s “Contagion.”
To be fair, this is a project Scott has been working on for years. It’s actually an adaptation of Richard Preston‘s 1994 non-fiction thriller “The Hot Zone,” about the true story of a previous outbreak of the Ebola virus. Scott was originally looking at making a feature out of the material, with Jodie Foster mooted to star at one point (the story of what happened to that version is chronicled in “Tales From Development Hell“), but now it’s headed to television as a limited series on Fox that he will produce, and the plan is to also use Preston’s upcoming New Yorker article about the Ebola outbreak and work it in to the adaptation as well. Timing is everything. Here’s the Amazon synopsis:
The bestselling landmark account of the first emergence of the Ebola virus. A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There is no cure. In a few days 90 percent of its victims are dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic “hot” virus. The Hot Zone tells this dramatic story, giving a hair-raising account of the appearance of rare and lethal viruses and their “crashes” into the human race. Shocking, frightening, and impossible to ignore, The Hot Zone proves that truth really is scarier than fiction.
Lynda Obst is co-producing with Jeff Vintar (“I, Robot“) penning the script, Scott will direct the pilot, and the project will be taken out to networks soon. And we’re sure the bidding will be feverish. (Sorry). [THR]