TV, film projects on deck for Stand Up to Cancer

For the next phase of its awareness campaign, the nonprofit org Stand Up to Cancer is moving into TV and film production.

Stand Up to Cancer — which has strong showbiz support and counts Katie Couric, Sherry Lansing and Laura Ziskin among its founders — has acquired the TV and film rights to “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,” a nonfiction tome that traces the history of the disease from its first appearance thousands of years ago up to the present day.

Siddhartha Mukherjee wrote the book, which Scribner published last month. Book shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller chart and was named one of the 10 best of the year by the New York Times Book Review and O: The Oprah Magazine.

Ziskin called the book “the most extraordinary and comprehensive look at cancer as a disease and a societal reality that has affected and will continue to affect every single person on the planet.”

Laura Ziskin Prods. will oversee development of the TV project, which Ziskin sees as a multipart documentary series, much like HBO’s “Alzheimer’s Project.” Ziskin said she was also inspired by “An Inconvenient Truth,” which came out around the same time she produced the Oscars.

Ziskin said she’ll look to recruit filmmakers to help produce “The Emperor of All Maladies.”

Stand Up to Cancer’s previous media activities included September’s live televised fund-raiser, which aired on a wide swath of U.S. broadcast and cable nets and raised about $80 million for cancer research. The org produced its first telethon in 2008.

In adapting “The Emperor of All Maladies,” the org hopes to create projects for TV, Internet, DVD and other platforms. Any coin from the project will go toward medical research.

Stand Up to Cancer is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.

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