Producers Ridley Scott and Lynda Obst are teaming up to bring Richard Preston's 1994 non-fiction best-seller The Hot Zone to Fox as a limited series, which focuses on the Ebola virus.
The project was initially conceived as a feature film, with the producers optioning the book two decades ago and never letting the rights lapse. Jeff Vintar (I, Robot) wrote the initial screenplay, which will now be turned into a limited series, with Ridley Scott and Lynda Obst producing alongside David Zucker and Jim Hart, who wrote an original screenplay entitled Crisis in the Hot Zone. Ridley Scott will likely direct the first episode as well.
The 1994 book will be merged with a new story focusing on the recent Ebola virus outbreak in the United States. Richard Preston is currently writing a piece for next week's issue of The New Yorker, which will also be incorporated into the series. The new article chronicles the history of the virus, including a 1989 incident in Virginia where primates became infected with a mutated version of Ebola. Ridley Scott and Lynda Obst have been working with Richard Preston over the past year on the limited series.
Here's what Lynda Obst had to say about the Ebola virus in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
"I think it's the speed with which it kills that makes the disease so frightening. 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."
She also added that a limited series is the right way to go with a story like this, since the filmmakers will not be hindered by the classic three-act movie structure.
"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."
Once the new twist on this disease spreading to America is incorporated into the script, the producers will shop it around to the networks. Ridley Scott is currently in post-production on Exodus: Gods and Kings, which arrives in theaters December 12. Lynda Obst produced the highly-anticipated sci-fi thriller Interstellar, which debuts November 7.