Sacks, who died in 2015 at 82, was a humanist, a passionate explorer of the human consciousness and arguably the most famous doctor of modern times. Christened the “poet laureate of contemporary medicine” by The New York Times, he dedicated his life to studying the strangest and most mind-boggling brain disorders in the world.
His book, Awakenings, also was made into a Best Picture Oscar-nominated 1990 film starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. His life also was the subject of a TV drama project that received a script commitment at NBC in 2013. Titled Sparks, the project was executive produced by Medium creator Glenn Gordon Caron and Michael London (Milk).
“Oliver Sacks radically shifted the public’s stigma towards mental illness with his extensive research and written works on his patients’ perplexing brain disorders,” said Fabrik’s CEO Henrik Bastin. “Along with our partners at The Imaginarium, Fabrik President Melissa Aouate and I aim to create a drama series that explores the furthest reaches of the human mind inspired by Oliver’s life’s work as well as two of his most influential books.”
In the series, Sacks’ experiences will provide an entry point for the audience to explore the deeply personal and sometimes contentious relationships between doctors and patients. Viewers will discern the poignant reality that these patients’ disorders are intimately connected to everything that makes up who they are — an amalgamation of all of their hopes, joys, fears, and traumas.
The show will feature unique cinematic imagery, allowing audiences to enter the highly subjective points of view of characters to glimpse a world that at times can hardly seem imaginable. Through a nuanced and dazzling exploration of the human mind, this adaptation intends to elevate itself far beyond typical medical dramas.
“Andy Serkis and I are very excited to be working with Fabrik to bring the extraordinary case histories and legacy of the unique and brilliant Oliver Sacks to the screen,” said the Imaginarium’s Cavendish. “Our ambition is to create a television series as innovative, unusual and charismatic as Oliver Sacks was in life.”
VPs of development Abbey Morris and Paul Hilborn will shepherd the project for Fabrik.
Los Angeles-based Fabrik Entertainment, a Red Arrow Studios company, is the producer of Amazon’s Bosch and AMC’s The Killing. The Imaginarium’s production credits include Breathe, starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy, and The Ritual starring Rafe Spall.
Fabrik is repped by Jared Levine at Morris Yorn Barnes. Imaginarium is repped by Pam Black and P.J. Shapiro at Ziffren Brittenham.