Producer-distributor Fremantle is partnering with “True Detective” executive producer Richard Brown’s nascent production outfit Passenger and Winterbottom’s Revolution Films on the project, which will have a keen focus on Johnson, who was admitted to intensive care with COVID-19 in late March and spent more than a week in hospital.
The Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman will serve as a consultant on the series, which will tell the true story of one of the most grave national and personal crises to befall a government leader since World War II. It will detail Johnson’s appointment as Prime Minister, to the discovery of the first cases of COVID-19 in the U.K., through to Johnson’s hospitalization and recovery, which also coincided with the arrival of his new son. All the while, Britain’s death toll steadily rose to become the second highest, per capita, in the world.
Currently, the U.K.’s death toll from COVID-19 stands at 43,230.
The series will be co-written by Winterbottom, with Passenger’s Brown — executive producer on HBO’s “True Detective” and Hulu’s “Catch-22” — and Melissa Parmenter of Revolution Films serving as executive producers.
The project is the first to emerge from a multi-year deal for scripted drama series struck by Passenger and Fremantle last year. In addition to working on all three seasons of “True Detective,” Brown is also known for producing Netflix action drama “Outlaw King,” directed by David Mackenzie and starring Chris Pine.
Meanwhile, Winterbottom’s directing credits include “24 Hour Party People,” “A Cock And Bull Story,” “Wonderland,” “The Road To Guantanamo,” “The Mighty Heart” and “Welcome To Sarajevo,” as well as “The Trip” anthology series.
Andrea Scrosati, global COO for Fremantle, said: “There are rare moments in history when leaders find their private lives uniquely connected to national events, where personal experience and official role collide in an unusual way. The last few months in the life of the U.K. Prime Minister clearly mark one of these moments.
“At Fremantle we are passionate about finding powerful and authentic stories and telling them with a fair and fact-based approach. Richard and Michael are the perfect creative team to bring this dramatic story to life, in a way that does justice to the true nature of the unbelievable events experienced by one of the world’s most high-profile leaders,” said Scrosati.
Brown added that “Michael Winterbottom is the ideal filmmaker to tell the story of the extraordinary events surrounding Boris Johnson’s new government and the COVID-19 pandemic, which has captured the attention of the world. We’re excited to join forces with Michael and Revolution Films on this project, a story which appears to demonstrate that fact is indeed sometimes stranger than fiction.”