The upcoming National Geographic miniseries “The Hot Zone” has added eight actors to its main cast, Variety has learned.
The series, based on the book of the same name by Richard Preston, is inspired by the true story of the origins of the Ebola virus and its arrival on U.S. soil in 1989. Noah Emmerich, Liam Cunningham, Topher Grace, Paul James, Nick Searcy, Robert Wisdom, and Robert Sean Leonard will all star in the six-episode series, with James D’Arcy joining the cast as a series guest star. They join previously announced series lead Julianna Margulies.
Emmerich joins as Lt. Col. Jerry Jaax, husband of Nancy Jaax (Margulies), who doesn’t hesitate to risk his life during the operation to contain the Ebola virus. Cunningham is set to portray Wade Carter, Dr. Nancy Jaax’s ally in the race to prevent the virus from spreading. Grace is Dr. Peter Jahrling, virologist for the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, who butts heads with Dr. Jaax over the best way to contain the virus. D’Arcy is Center for Disease Control official Trevor Rhodes, Carter’s former assistant and current nemesis. James will play Ben Gellis, a lab tech at the pathology lab in Reston, Virginia, assisting Dr. Jaax and Dr. Jahrling. Searcy is Frank Mays, the exhausted colony manager at the Reston Monkey Facility where the virus originated. Wisdom joins as Col. Vernon Tucker of USAMRIID, Dr. Jaax’s superior. And Leonard will portray company man Walter Humboldt, the liaison between Hazleton, a scientific research corporation, and its primate lab in Reston.
Production begins today in Toronto and will also shoot in South Africa in early December. The series will premiere globally on Nat Geo in 2019.
Michael Uppendahl and Nick Murphy will serve as directors. Kelly Soulders and Brian Peterson are showrunners and executive producers. “The Hot Zone” is executive produced by Lynda Obst Production’s Lynda Obst and Scott Free Production’s Ridley Scott and David Zucker. Uppendahl is also an executive producer. For National Geographic, Carolyn G. Bernstein is executive vice president and head of global scripted development and production. The series is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios, Lynda Obst Productions, Scott Free Productions, Kelly Souders, Brian Peterson, and Jeff Vintar.