National Geographic is seriously upping their game with this one.
Not many people can say they’ve had one of their projects produced in three different mediums, but writer and filmmaker David France is set to accomplish such a feat. He is the director of the essential 2012 documentary How to Survive a Plague, which he adapted into an equally essential book, published at the end of 2016.
Now, How to Survive a Plague is about to get the dramatic treatment. National Geographic is developing it as a scripted mini-series with France set to executive produce. The channel stated that the story is the “perfect fit” for them. Nat Geo is new to the scripted game, announcing in April of 2016 that they were developing an anthology series about the world’s best and brightest minds (appropriately titled Genius). The first season will focus on Albert Einstein and you know Nat Geo isn’t messing around because guess who they cast as Einstein: Geoffrey Rush. Perfection.
We can only expect How to Survive A Plague to receive the same care. The 2012 documentary recounts the early years of the AIDS epidemic. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to win countless festival and critic awards and eventually earned an Oscar nomination. A Hollywood Reporter review begins with, “Words like ‘important’ and ‘inspiring’ tend too often to be meaninglessly attached to non-fiction filmmaking, but in the case of David France’s compelling snapshot of a revolutionary period in AIDS treatment, they are amply justified.” Basically, if you haven’t seen the documentary yet, what are you waiting for?
The recent book has also been making an impact, with a New York Times review saying, “[it] somehow manages to pack all the emotional power of that film with far more granular detail and narrative force. I doubt any book on this subject will be able to match its access to the men and women who lived and died through the trauma and the personal testimony that, at times, feels so real to someone who witnessed it that I had to put this volume down and catch my breath.”
We’ll be watching the development of How to Survive A Plague closely, as well as the rest of Nat Geo’s new scripted offerings.