Italy’s CAM Film and Fremantle’s The Apartment have teamed up to acquire rights to bestselling Italian author Carlo Rovelli’s “Helgoland,” an origin story about quantum physics, with plans to turn the book into a high-end TV series.
A bestseller in Italy, “Helgoland” will soon be published in the U.K. and elsewhere around world. It’s the story of quantum physics, the theory that has given rise to modern technology — the computer chip, for one — and atomic energy, but also to philosophical considerations and a new understanding of how just about everything works.
Rovelli’s previous books, “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics,” “Reality Is Not What it Seems” and “The Order of Time” are all international bestsellers, translated into 41 languages. He is a theoretical physicist who has worked in Italy and the U.S.
“In June 1925, 23-year-old Werner Heisenberg, suffering from hay fever, retreated to a treeless, wind-battered island in the North Sea called Helgoland,” reads the “Helgoland” blurb on the website for Penguin U.K., which will be releasing the book in March.
It was on this island that Heisenberg came up with the key insight behind quantum mechanics. “Helgoland” is thus “the story of quantum physics and its bright young founders who were to become some of the most famous Nobel winners,” according to promotional materials from Fremantle, which also called the tale a celebration of a “youthful rebellion and intellectual revolution.”
“Today more than ever, we are living a life where our most simple and everyday actions are reflections of an unconditional trust in science,” The Apartment chief Lorenzo Mieli told Variety. “We therefore think it’s especially urgent and necessary to tackle this project at this particular moment in history.”
Mieli, who is the producer of shows such as “The New Pope,” “My Brilliant Friend” and Paolo Sorrentino’s upcoming “The Hand of God,” went on to note that through Rovelli’s “solid and passionate” book, “we want to tell the human adventure of an extraordinary generation of scientists who changed modern thought forever, and not just from a scientific standpoint.”
CAM Film is a Rome outfit headed by veteran producer Camilla Nesbitt, whose recent credits include Milan fashion world series “Made in Italy,” now streaming on Amazon in Italy, and upcoming French comedy “Irreductible” by Jerome Commandeur.
“I am thrilled to start this extraordinary new adventure to bring on the screen all the emotion of scientific thought that only a great scientist and writer such as Carlo Rovelli could convey in a book,” she said in a statement.
No screenwriters or other talent are yet attached to the project, which producers are shopping to streamers and broadcasters.