×

Boeing 737 Max Disaster Series in Works From Rory Kennedy, Imagine Documentaries (EXCLUSIVE)

Documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy is teaming with Imagine Entertainment for a new series about the tragedy and subsequent scandal over the defunct Boeing 737-Max airplane, sources tell Variety.

Kennedy and her husband and producing partner, Emmy-nominated writer Mark Bailey, are teaming up with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s unscripted division at Imagine, run by Justin Wilkes and Sara Bernstein.

The project will examine the months since the tragedies, which caused global panic in March 2019 after two new aircrafts crashed within five months, killing 346 people. Much reporting has focused on improperly vetted design flaws and an internal push for speed at Boeing, while other accounts have pointed to pilot inexperience and poor airmanship. In addition to human cost, the reputation of the iconic company has been tarnished.

Kennedy’s project, built around first-person accounts from the people who experienced the events, is said to put a human face on the complicated issues being raised. It also hopes to let audiences make up their own minds about what happened and why, insiders close to the project said.

The untitled series marks is the first co-production between Imagine Documentaries and Kennedy and Bailey’s Moxie Films. Distribution plans were not immediately clear.

Kennedy’s 2014 documentary “Last Days in Vietnam,” which told the story of the Vietnam War’s final weeks, was nominated for an Oscar for documentary feature. She won the Emmy for nonfiction special in 2007 for her film “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib,” which chronicled the American abuse of detainees in Abu Ghraib prison in 2003. Bailey co-wrote both features.

Imagine Documentaries was formed in 2018 with a focus on developing and producing premium feature documentaries and non-scripted television. Upcoming releases include the Toronto International Film Festival opening night film “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band,” executive produced by Martin Scorsese, which will be released by Magnolia Pictures on Feb. 21; a feature documentary on NBA-star Dwyane Wade (ESPN Films) premiering Feb. 23; as well as Bryce Dallas Howard’s “Dads,” premiering on Apple TV Plus this year.

Also on deck at Imagine Documentaries is the film “Rebuilding Paradise” at NatGeo, which follows the Paradise, Calif., wildfires that most recently ravaged a community; “On Pointe,” a series showcasing students at the School of American Ballet leading up to the annual performance of the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center for Disney Plus; Supervillain: and “Gossip,” a limited series focusing on New York Post columnist Cindy Adams at Showtime.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Empty movie theater

    Theater Owners Create $2.4 Million Fund for Cinema Workers

    The National Association of Theatre Owners and the Pioneers Assistance Fund have created an initial $2.4 million fund to provide financial assistance to movie theater employees who need help due to the coronavirus pandemic. The organizations said Monday that the first part of the initiative is a grant program that will provide a stipend to [...]

  • Bob Chapek Bob Iger Disney

    Bob Iger to Give Up Salary, Other Senior Disney Executives to Take Pay Cuts

    Disney has joined the list of companies implementing sizable pay cuts for senior executives amid the upheaval caused by the coronavirus crisis. Bob Iger, who shifted from chairman-CEO to executive chairman last month, has opted to forgo his salary for the year. Bob Chapek, who succeeded Iger as CEO, has taken a 50% pay cut. [...]

  • Sundance Horror Movie 'Relic' Picked Up

    Sundance Horror Movie 'Relic,' Starring Emily Mortimer, Picked Up By Film Constellation

    London-based production, finance and sales company Film Constellation has boarded the critically-lauded “Relic,” the debut feature from Natalie Erika James. The film, which stars Emily Mortimer (“Shutter Island”), Robyn Nevin (“The Matrix Trilogy”) and Bella Heathcote (“The Neon Demon”), had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in the Midnight section. The film, which [...]

  • Judy Movie 2019 renee zellweger

    Korea Box Office: ‘Judy’ Debuts on Top as Cinemas Slump to Historic Lows

    The South Korean box office, which has been widely affected by coronavirus and has fallen to historic lows, was further hit by leading exhibitor CJ-CGV’s recent decision to shut 35 complexes nationwide, and to reduce screenings at those theaters remaining in operation. Opening on Wednesday (Mar. 25), Oscar-winning drama “Judy” debuted on top of the [...]

  • 'Elephant' Review: Less Majestic Than the

    'Elephant,' Narrated by Meghan Markle: Film Review

    Of all the members of the animal kingdom we think of as akin to humans — chimps, dolphins, whales, perhaps (if we’re being honest about it) our dogs — elephants may be the most movingly and preternaturally aware. Because you can see how intelligent they are. You see it in a chimp’s face, too, of [...]

  • Ken Shimura

    Japanese Comedian Ken Shimura Dies of Coronavirus at 70

    Ken Shimura, a comedian who was a fixture on Japanese television for decades, died on Sunday evening from the coronavirus, the Japanese media reported Monday. He was 70, and immediately before his illness had been set for his first starring role in a feature film. Shimura entered a Tokyo hospital on March 20 with fever [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content