“As the Ebola virus continues to dominate the headlines, producer Lynda Obst and director-producer Ridley Scott are bringing the deadly pathogen to the small screen with a limited series for Fox TV Studios based on Richard Preston’s 1994 nonfiction best-seller ‘The Hot Zone,’ “ writes Tatiana Siegel in a scoop for The Hollywood Reporter.
“ ‘I think it’s the speed with which it kills that makes the disease so frightening,’ Obst tells The Hollywood Reporter. ‘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.’ ”
Obst also told THR, “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.” The limited series will follow the history of Ebola, including the current outbreak, according to the article.
Preston’s best-seller was based on a New Yorker article he wrote, called “Crisis in the Hot Zone.” That was also going to be the name of a feature film that Obst and Scott were going to make in the 1990s. It was to star Jodie Foster and Robert Redford, but it’s been written that there were difficulties getting everyone satisfied with the script at the time. Reportedly, both Foster and Redford eventually left the project.
In August 1994, this short item appeared in the Los Angeles Times:
‘Hot Zone’ Production Shut Down: Director Ridley Scott announced that his company, RCS/PMP Films, was suspending production of “Crisis in the Hot Zone,” a $55 million movie about a deadly virus outbreak. The decision came less than a week after actor Robert Redford dropped out of the leading role. Scott said the production was forced to shut down because 20th Century Fox, “among other things, will not honor its contractual obligation to approve available cast.”
A competing project, “Outbreak,” starring Dustin Hoffman, was made and released in 1995. It was about an Ebola-like outbreak.
After the current telescript is complete, Obst and Scott will shop the project to networks, the THR story says.
To read more about this story we urge you to click here, which will take you to Siegel’s original piece.