National Geographic has enlisted Leonardo DiCaprio‘s production company Appian Way to produce a new adaptation of Tom Wolfe‘s book, The Right Stuff. Mark Lafferty (Castle Rock) will serve as showrunner while David Nutter (Game Of Thrones) will direct the premiere episode.
Wolfe’s book tells the story of the original Mercury Seven astronauts who were selected for the NASA space program, Project Mercury. The book contrasts the famous seven and their families with test pilots such as Chuck Yeager, who were considered the superior pilots by their contemporaries, but were men that did not fit the image NASA was looking for.
A film adaptation of the book was released in 1983. This new series is intended to be “extremely anti-nostalgic”, and will follow the protagonists from the Mojave Desert to the edges of space. Future seasons will carry on the tale and lead to the story of man landing on the moon. Carolyn Bernstein, Nat Geo’s Executive Vice President of global scripted content and documentary films, said of the project:
“The behind-the-scenes stories of the astronauts in Tom Wolfe‘s bestseller The Right Stuff are engaging, provocative and timeless. The book’s narrative aligns perfectly with the qualities that we look for in scripted projects: fact-based, wildly entertaining and pushing the limits of human achievement”.
The initial season of the show will use the book as the jumping off point. One mission will be featured per season, with the first season taking place at the height of the cold war in 1958, when the Soviets were dominating the space race. With the American public in fear of a declining nation, the Mercury Seven are instantly catapulted to hero status before even stepping foot on a spaceship.
Wolfe’s book is a classic of new journalism, and the adaptation should be a perfect fit for Nat Geo. Production is set to begin this autumn.