Neal Baer plans ‘Soda’ book, documentary

Will tell history of carbonated beverages, ties to obesity

Neal Baer has set his sights on soda as the subject of his next nonfiction book and documentary project.

The former “Law & Order: SVU” exec producer has cut a deal with Rodale Books to co-write “Soda: Corporate Profits Versus Public Health” with prominent nutritionist Marion Nestle. He’s also working with docu filmmakers Patrick Creadon and Christine O’Malley (“Wordplay,” “I.O.U.S.A.”) on a companion doc.

Baer, who is a licensed physician and a professor at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, aims to tell the history of how carbonated sodas became a staple of the American diet. Like many doctors, Baer sees soft drinks as a major contributor to rising obesity rates, particularly for children. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg made national headlines last month in championing a ban in Gotham on the sale of super-sized soft drinks in light of mounting health concerns.

“There are so many stories to tell about how soda was developed, about corporate strategies for promoting soda, about government subsidies for corn syrup,” Baer told Variety. “It’s a look at the cultural and historical meaning of something that is ubiquitous in our lives.”

Nestle is a well-known public health advocate who teaches at NYU and Cornell, and she pens the blog FoodPolitics.com.

“Soda” is targeted for publication in 2014. Baer said the goal is to have the docu follow soon after the book’s release. Baer, Creadon and O’Malley are in the process of shopping for financing for the project. The trio are already collaborating on another docu, “Studio H,” that has been funded by the MacArthur Foundation and Sundance Institute. Baer, Creadon and O’Malley were in Park City, Utah, last week to take part in a Sundance Lab workshop on the pic.

“Studio H” tells the story of educator Emily Pilloton, who launched a nonprofit org dedicated to teaching basic building design skills to high school juniors in a poor region of North Carolina. The “Studio H” docu is expected to bow next year.

Baer wrapped 11 seasons on “SVU” last year and spent the past TV season as the showrunner of the CBS drama “A Gifted Man.” In January he published his first novel, “Kill Switch,” co-written with longtime collaborator Jonathan Greene, and he is working on a follow-up, “Kill Again,” due out next year.

Baer’s deal for “Soda” was brokered by his book agent, Lydia Wills.

More Film

  • Bong Joon Ho, Jane Rosenthal, David

    Netflix Praised by 'The Irishman,' 'Marriage Story' Filmmakers at Producers Guild Panel

    Streaming giant Netflix received strong support from filmmakers behind “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story” at the Producers Guild of America’s nominees panel on Saturday at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Jane Rosenthal, one of “The Irishman” producers, said Netflix embraced the vision that she and Martin Scorsese had for the $170 million film. [...]

  • Gabriel Harel on MyFFF ‘The Night

    Gabriel Harel Discusses Dystopic Parable ‘The Night of the Plastic Bags’

    With his first short film, the animated “Yùl and the Snake,” Gabriel Harel won Europe’s Cartoon d’Or for the continent’s best animated short film, given at the 2016 Cartoon Forum in Toulouse. Now, Harel’s awaited sophomore effort, the animated “The Night of the Plastic Bags,” competes at UniFrance’s MyFrenchFilmFestival, and is available on a swathe [...]

  • MyFrenchFilmFestival: Profiling Benjamin Crotty’s Short ‘Nicolas

    ‘The Glorious Acceptance of Nicolas Chauvin’: Nationalism Wrapped in Charisma

    Winner of Locarno’s Signs of Life section, Benjamin Crotty’s “The Glorious Acceptance of Nicolas Chauvin” has enjoyed more than 12 months of festival success and critical acclaim as it reaches the end of its festival run at UniFrance’s MyFrenchFilmFestival. A modern take on one of France’s most influential yet widely unknown characters, the film headlines [...]

  • Alexander Ludwig

    Alexander Ludwig on Sharing his Recovery Journey, Playing the 'Bad Boys' Tech Guy

    With his towering height and stature, Alexander Ludwig looks every bit the action star, first appearing as Cato in “The Hunger Games,” and more recently as fierce Norse Viking chief Bjorn Ironside on History Channel’s “Vikings” and in “Bad Boys for Life,” the third installment of the “Bad Boys” franchise, with Will Smith and Martin [...]

  • Will Smith and Martin Lawrence star

    Box Office: 'Bad Boys for Life' Scores Big With $66 Million Launch

    “Bad Boys for Life” is showing plenty of power at the North American box office with an impressive  launch of around $66 million at 3,740 venues over the four-day holiday weekend. Sony’s sequel to 1995’s “Bad Boys” and 2003’s “Bad Boys II” far exceeded the studio’s pre-release forecasts of a $38 million weekend. The film, [...]

  • A Bump Along the Way Movie

    'A Bump Along the Way': Film Review

    While “Derry Girls” continues to be the last word in young, raucous female rebellion on the Emerald Isle, “A Bump Along the Way” has a little something to add. Sin the same Northern Irish city as the hit Netflix sitcom, but shedding the ’90s nostalgia for the Snapchat age, Shelly Love’s appealing, unassuming debut feature [...]

  • Tresor Plots $72 Million 'Asterix &

    Tresor Films Plots $72 Million 'Asterix & Obelix: The Silk Road,' New Projects (EXCLUSIVE)

    After delivering two of the highest-grossing French films of last year, Alain Attal’s Paris-based production company Tresor Films (“Sink or Swim,” “Little White Lies 2”) is kicking off 2020 with its most ambitious project yet, Guillaume Canet’s “Asterix & Obelix: The Silk Road.” Co-produced and financed by Jerome Seydoux’s Pathé, “Asterix & Obelix” is budgeted [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content