1:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Scripted Space Drama From Leonardo DiCaprio in the Works at Nat Geo
National Geographic is ready to go to the moon with Leonardo DiCaprio.
The cabler is teaming with the actor's Appian Way Productions banner and Warner Horizon Scripted Television to develop a scripted adaptation of Tom Wolfe's best-seller The Right Stuff, with the goal of having a multiple-season drama series.
Will Staples will pen the script and executive produce the project that is set in 1958 and explores astronauts and their families as they move from the Mojave Desert to the edges of space, tracking their instant celebrity and, at some point in subsequent seasons, the moon landing.
DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson of Appian Way will exec produce alongside Staples and Michael Hampton, who shepherded the drama. The potential series will use Wolfe's book as a starting point.
"Having already had a rich relationship with Leonardo, Jennifer and their production company Appian Way on Before the Flood, I’m excited to work with them in a scripted capacity,” said Courteney Monroe, CEO, National Geographic Global Networks. “With The Right Stuff, we’re looking at moment in time where the everyday life, the trials and tribulations, of these men was scrutinized in the public. The story gives a peek into the minds and goals of these astronauts seeking exploration and adventure during the space race of the ’50s, making it the perfect story for National Geographic to tell.”
The development sale comes as Nat Geo is readying scripted drama The Long Road Home as it continues to bulk up on originals.
Elsewhere, National Geographic has settled on an Aug. 14 premiere date for documentary Diana: In Her Own Words, which features archival footage and photography with her voice. The cabler also announced a companion documentary special to its upcoming scripted drama The Long Road Home from Martha Raddatz, looking at how the First Cavalry Division came under attack in April 2004, leading to the battle known as Black Sunday. It will air along with the scripted series in November.
Additionally, Nat Geo has announced a 20-episode fourth season of Neil Degrasse Tyson's Star Talk, which will return in October and feature interviews with talent including James Cameron, Jane Goodall, Katie Couric, Katy Perry and The Hollywood Reporter contributor Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, among others.
Speaking of Cameron, Nat Geo is teaming with the Titanic helmer for a documentary marking the 20th anniversary of the film. The hourlong special will air in December and discuss new revelations about the "unsinkable ship."