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Michael Douglas will play one of the founding fathers in a limited series for Apple TV+.
The Oscar and Emmy winner will star in and executive produce a drama about Benjamin Franklin and his diplomatic mission to France during the American Revolution. The series, a co-production of ITV Studios America and Apple Studios, is based on Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff’s book A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America.
Emmy winner Kirk Ellis (John Adams) is adapting Schiff’s book. Fellow Emmy winner Tim Van Patten (Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos) will direct.
The untitled series will tell the story of one of the greatest gambles of Franklin’s storied life: At age 70, and with no diplomatic training, he convinced France’s absolute monarchy to underwrite America’s experiment in democracy. By virtue of his fame, charisma, and ingenuity, Franklin outmaneuvered British spies, French informers and hostile colleagues, all while engineering the Franco-American alliance of 1778 and the final peace with England of 1783. Without his work in France, the United States likely wouldn’t have won the Revolutionary War.
The limited series will be Douglas’ second encounter with Franklin: He voiced the founding father in an episode of PBS’ 2003 series Freedom: A History of US.
Ellis, Van Patten and Douglas will executive produce the series with Richard Plepler via his Eden Productions, Tony Krantz of Flame Ventures and Mark Mostyn. Schiff will be a co-EP.
Douglas is coming off Netflix’s The Kominsky Method, which wrapped last year and earned the actor three Emmy nominations for best lead actor in a comedy series. He plays Dr. Hank Pym in Marvel’s Ant-Man movies and is attached to play Ronald Reagan in a Paramount TV Studios limited series about the 40th president’s negotiations with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev (Christoph Waltz). He is repped by UTA.
Ellis is repped by ICM Partners, attorney Bob Myman and Thruline Entertainment. Van Patten is repped by CAA and Range Media Partners.
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