Deadline reports that Scott Free Productions has acquired the rights to Lawrence Wright’s pandemic novel The End of October with the studio looking to adapt it for either a film or TV series with Ridley Scott (The Last Duel) being eyed to potentially direct.
The synopsis reads like this The novel will focus on Henry Parsons, a microbiologist and epidemiologist, who travels to an internment camp in Indonesia on behalf of the World Health Organization to investigate the death of 47 people from acute hemorrhagic fever. He soon learns that an infected man is on his way to join the millions of worshippers in the annual Hajj to Mecca and must join forces with a Saudi prince and doctor in an attempt to quarantine the entire host of pilgrims in the holy city. The story also follows a Russian émigré, a woman who has risen to deputy director of U.S. Homeland Security as she scrambles to mount a response to what may be an act of biowarfare.
The idea for the novel reportedly came to Wright roughly six years ago from Scott when the Golden Globe winner asked Wright if a societal breakdown in an apocalyptic even could actually happen after having read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.
Deadline’s report also says that the studio is carefully considering its path of attack on the adaptation, given world events and that whichever direction they head, they shall deliver a sizable donation to the front line workers battling the current pandemic. stating that one of the primary distribution studios looking to get in on the deal is Netflix, who has seen large numbers for the similarly-themed 1995 ensemble thriller Outbreakand the public has seen a resurgence of interest in Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 ensemble Contagion.
Wright is the Pulitzer-winning author of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, which was adapted into a miniseries for Hulu in 2018 that received rave reviews from critics and audiences and was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards.