Atomic-Bomb Movie Among Expanded Slate as First Look Media Brands its Studio (Exclusive)

Michael Bloom - SPOTLIGHT Oscar After-Party -Getty-P 2017
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The New York-based company is growings its film, TV and digital slate, which also includes a political satire for the small screen as well as series based on books 'The Apothecary' and 'Gold Fame Citrus.'

First Look Media made an auspicious debut with Spotlight, its first produced and co-financed feature after launching in 2013. Now the New York-based company will tackle another true story with tragic results: the making of the atomic bomb.

Inside Amy Schumer co-creator Dan Powell is shifting genres to write Brotherhood of the Bomb, based on Gregg Herken's 2002 book of the same name. The film will explore the tumultuous relationship between physicists Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Teller; the former was stripped of his U.S. government security clearance for alleged communist ties after the latter testified against him.

"This is a passion project for Dan, and he brought us in," says First Look executive vp programming and content Adam Pincus. "It's a devastating story in terms of divided loyalties."

Brotherhood marks the latest move by the company, which also has added execs Jason Fisher and Ryan Heller as it expands its film, TV and digital slate under the newly branded Topic banner (First Look, backed by eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar, will continue as the name of the parent company that also owns the news site The Intercept). As Topic ramps up its narrative feature lineup with such films as the hacktivist thriller We Do Not Forget, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zachary Quinto, it also is staying active in the doc space and has quietly boarded the Hulk Hogan v. Gawker film Nobody Speak as an executive producer and co-financier.

For TV, Topic is developing political satire Mr. Speaker, based on an original pitch by journalists David Sirota and Bret Saunders. Billy Kimball (Veep) is writing, and Sarah Condon (Bored to Death) is executive producing. Also in the works are a pair of series based on hot book properties: The Apothecary by Maile Meloy, with Mark Levin & Jennifer Flackett (Madeline, Wimbledon) writing; and Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins, about a futuristic drought-plagued California. In digital, Topic is partnering with The New Yorker on All-Star Style, which features NBA impressionist Brandon Armstrong lampooning Steph Curry, LeBron James, James Harden, Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook. And given the success of its podcast Missing Richard Simmons, Topic now is looking into adapting that property for another medium.

Says First Look president Michael Bloom, "Our motto has been: Do what's best for the creative idea, whether it's a film, TV or podcast."

A version of this story first appeared in the March 31 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.