National Geographic has ordered an adaptation of Tom Wolfe‘s “The Right Stuff” to Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Appian Way.
Production will begin in the fall, and it will tell the story of the early days of the U.S. space program. Appian Way Productions is producing with Warner Horizon Scripted Television, and DiCaprio will executive produce with Jennifer Davisson. CASTLE ROCK’s Mark Lafferty is serving as executive producer and showrunner and GAME OF THRONES’ David Nutter will direct the premiere episode. SHOOTER’s Will Staples and Lizzie Mickery will also executive produce. Following the success of the climate-change documentary, “The Right Stuff” is just the latest collaboration between National Geographic and Appian Way.
THE RIGHT STUFF will take a gritty look at what would become America’s first reality television show, the original Mercury Seven astronauts and their families who gained instant fame in a life or death competition that gained notice around the world. Extremely anti-nostalgic, the one-hour drama series will follow the protagonists from the Mojave Desert to the edges of space, with future seasons carrying through to humankind’s greatest achievement: the moon landing.
Carolyn Bernstein, executive vice president, global scripted content and documentary films, had this to say about the project: “The behind-the-scenes stories of the astronauts in Tom Wolfe’s bestseller The Right Stuff are engaging, provocative and timeless. The book’s narrative aligns perfectly with the qualities that we look for in scripted projects: fact-based, wildly entertaining and pushing the limits of human achievement.”
The first season of the show will use the book as its starting off point and will feature one mission per season. Season one will take place at the height of the Cold War in 1958, when the Soviets are dominating the space race. The public is in fear of a nation in decline, so the U.S. government conceives of a solution — NASA’s Project Mercury — creating the country’s premier astronauts from a handful of the military’s adrenaline-junkie test pilots. Seven individuals, known as the Mercury Seven, are plucked from their ordinary lives and soon forged into heroes long before they have achieved a single heroic act. Within the heart of this historic drama that’s populated by deeply human characters, two rivals John Glenn and Alan Shepard jockey to be the first in space.