Ridley Scott Is Creating an Ebola TV Series

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Ridley Scott is taking a break from biblical plagues to focus on a modern-day plagues.

In what may or may not be cynical marketing move to capitalize on the current Ebola outbreak, the Exodus: Gods and Kings director and producer Lynda Obst are creating an Ebola television show for Fox based on Richard Preston’s 1994 best-selling book The Hot Zone, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The pair optioned the story 20 years ago, The Hollywood Reporter said, and have quietly been working on bringing it to the small screen for the last year.

But the plot is suddenly particularly timely: The current strain of the virus has killed almost 4,500 people in West Africa, and two nurses in the U.S. have recently tested positive for the disease after caring for an Ebola victim who passed away in a Texas hospital after he arrived in Dallas from Liberia.

“I think it’s the speed with which it kills that makes the disease so frightening,” Obst told The Hollywood Reporter. “People hoped it would stay in some remote part of the world. But that’s a fantasy in the modern world. The modern world makes us one big connected family.”

Scott, whose Alien certainly portrayed panic and fear as an invasive force kills off a crew of astronauts, hopes that the series will include the current crisis. Preston’s original book was based on a 1994 article Preston wrote about the disease. Scott and Obst are in talks with Preston to option a new article he is writing for next week’s New Yorker on the current outbreak, in order to work that story into the series as well.


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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com