The First Shot hbo

A coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine hasn’t even been created yet, but Adam McKay is already set to make an HBO limited series about it. The Succession executive producer and director of Vice has optioned the rights to The First Shot, a non-fiction narrative book that chronicles “the race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.” And though that race is far from over, the good scientists across the world can at least count on a glossy HBO limited series to tell their story.

Deadline reports that Adam McKay and HBO have optioned the rights to The First Shot, a non-fiction narrative book by The Atlantic and New York Times writer Brendan Borrell that tells the “story of the global coronavirus vaccine race.” The yet-to-be-published book was sold at auction to publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Sugar23 Books and will reportedly “explore the companies and individuals putting everything on the line to save lives, the science that it is based on, and the challenges playing out around politics, access, and safety.”

McKay’s Hyperobject Industries will produce the adaptation of The First Shot, which is currently being called the Untitled Vaccine Project, and he will executive produce alongside Todd Schulman and Borrell.

Is it just me or does this entire project feel a little insensitive, maybe even ghoulish, as the coronavirus pandemic is nowhere close to being over? Coronavirus cases continue to surge in the U.S., and while the race for the vaccine is ongoing, research for the vaccine is still in its early stages. But McKay is never one to shy away from political controversy — in fact, the filmmaker seeks it out, winning acclaim with tongue-in-cheek big screen films about horrifying real-life events and people like Vice and The Big Short. But while McKay’s facetious tone can be appreciated with adaptations of real-life events that are something of a distant memory to its audiences, it doesn’t seem completely appropriate for an ongoing crisis like the coronavirus pandemic.

But with Hollywood productions stalled, it could be that McKay is getting ahead of himself and preparing for a series that will win all sorts of acclaim and awards once filming can resume in a year or so. By the time McKay does get to work on his Untitled Vaccine Projectperhaps a real vaccine will actually be developed. But for now, the project feels a little insensitive and discomfiting.

McKay is currently working on a LA Lakers drama project, based on Jeff Pearlman’s non-fiction book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s, which was ordered to series in December with John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss. The filmmaker is also working with Bong Joon Ho to adapt Oscar-winning film Parasite into a TV series.

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