If someone wrote the 2016 Presidential Election—from primaries up through inauguration—as a screenplay, it’d be turned down as being too far-fetched. Indeed, “stranger than fiction” often makes for some of the most compelling stories, and we knew it was only a matter of time before the election was mined for some kind of narrative adaptation. That’s coming via Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty scribe Mark Boal, who is teaming up with Annapurna Pictures head Megan Ellison to craft a “political drama” that will consist of eight to ten hours. Per Deadline, the project doesn’t yet have a broadcast partner, but it will be developed as part of Boal’s Page 1 company. No word on whether Annapurna Television will be involved, but the TV offshoot of Ellison’s company recently came out of the gate strong with a developing Western series from the Coen Brothers.
Boal plans on making his directorial debut on the untitled project, and he’s currently in the midst of assembling investigative journalists in New York and Washington D.C. to serve as contributors while Boal pens the script himself. This is Boal’s process, as he’s a journalist by trade and wrote the scripts for The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty after doing extensive research and investigative journalism himself. So while “a TV series about the 2016 election” may sound salacious and opportunistic, Boal’s resume infers that he’ll actually be attempting to delve deep into the nuts and bolts, possibly uncovering some heretofore unknown facts. Although this thorough research process also means that we probably won’t be seeing this project hitting the fast track.
After Zero Dark Thirty, Boal started working on a film about Bowe Bergdahl with director Kathryn Bigelow, although legal issues have put that film’s future in doubt. As part of Boal’s research for that project, he conducted extensive interviews with Bergdahl himself which then became the basis for the highly anticipated second season of the podcast Serial. Most recently, he penned the script for Bigelow’s untitled Detroit riots project, a true story drama that’s set for release later this year.
While the 2008 election provided plenty of media fodder and resulted in Jay Roach’s solid HBO movie Game Change, the 2016 election was truly unlike anything we’ve seen before. It’ll be interesting to see what tone Boal strikes with this series, and how it’ll be received.
While casting will no doubt be tricky, we at Collider already offered up our suggestions for who should star as the main players. You’re welcome, Mr. Boal.