HBO, BBC, 'Leaving Neverland' Director Reteam on Antibiotics Doc 'Superbug'

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Dan Reed

The film will also include scripted scenes that "will offer the opportunity for Hollywood talent to be involved with the project" about "how humanity gained a wonder cure and now has almost lost it."

HBO and the BBC are reteaming with Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed on documentary Superbug, which is about "how humanity gained a wonder cure — antibiotics — the guarantor of modern medicine, and now has almost lost it."

The project is set to be 110-120 minutes long and is described as a "cinematic hybrid documentary and scripted film" that will "unravel the story of how this happened and what it means for the future of humankind." The scripted scenes of the film "will offer the opportunity for Hollywood talent to be involved with the project with all the publicity this will bring to the issue," the companies said.

Kew Media Distribution, which distributed Emmy-winning sex abuse documentary Leaving Neverland, has picked up the international sales rights to the documentary feature, which is produced by Reed’s Amos Pictures. It is set to premiere on HBO and BBC Two in 2021.

Superbug will tell an important story that will make viewers question their relationship with modern medicine while sweeping them up into an immersive journey like no other," said Reed. "Superbug will feel like an epic, entertaining movie, using the full arsenal of screen storytelling: movie-grade computer-generated imagery, scripted drama and cinematography, and an orchestral musical score alongside classical documentary techniques with all the truth, intimacy, immediacy and sense of engagement that they deliver. The CGI will be immersive and photo-real, a journey into a never-before-seen landscape populated by extraordinary living things."

Superbug was commissioned by HBO joint head of documentaries Nancy Abraham and BBC Two commissioning editor Clare Sillery. 

HBO last month moved to get another shot at convincing a court that the Michael Jackson estate can't go to arbitration over Leaving Neverland, filing paperwork for a high-stakes appeal. The Jackson estate has been attempting to enforce a non-disparagement clause in a 1992 contract — which provided HBO with rights to air a televised concert following the release of Jackson's album Dangerous. That contract had secrecy and non-disparagement provisions that the estate is seizing upon to litigate Leaving Neverland, which focuses on allegations against Jackson by Wade Robson and James Safechuck.