Brad Weston’s recently launched Makeready has nabbed the rights to bestselling author Robert Kurson’s upcoming book Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon, to adapt for television. The nonfiction book will be published by Random House in spring 2018. Brillstein Entertainment Partners’ Jon Liebman is producing with Makeready.
Rocket Men tells the story of the Apollo 8 mission –man’s first journey away from his home planet, and his first arrival at the Moon. It focuses on Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders, the three astronauts behind the voyage (see photo right), and features exclusive and never before heard details from Kurson’s extensive conversations with the astronauts and their families.
“The story of Apollo 8 is as dramatic and suspenseful as any work of fiction, but few remember the brave men behind mankind’s first mission to the Moon, made during Christmas of perhaps the nation’s most turbulent year,” said Weston. “From the moment we read Robert’s inspiring narrative, we knew his unique, firsthand account from the astronauts and their families had to be brought to television, and have been working in collaboration with Brillstein to bring it to life. Today, nearly 50 years after the mission, Rocket Men’s message of hope and heroism resonates more than ever.”
In early 1968, the Apollo program was on shaky footing. President Kennedy’s end-of-decade deadline to put a man on the moon was in danger, and the Soviets were pulling ahead in the space race. By August 1968, with their back against the wall, NASA decided to scrap their usual methodical approach and attempt the most daring and dangerous mission in the agency’s history. With just a few months to prepare, they would send the first manned crew in history to the Moon in the final days of December 1968.
“’Rocket Men’ is a tour de force. Reading it, you get to know the astronauts and their families, and you’re captivated by the thrilling journey they—and the world—experienced in 1968,” said Liebman.
This is the second TV project about the Apollo 8 mission that is being put in development. Fox21 TV Studios just acquired the rights to the bestselling nonfiction book Apollo 8, which was published in May. It was written by Jeffrey Kluger, co-author of Apollo 13, which was the basis for the 1995 Ron Howard movie.
Rocket Men joins the growing development slate of Makeready’s television division, headed by Scott Nemes, which funds development and can deficit finance series, with Entertainment One handling international distribution. The slate also includes the Untitled David James Kelly project with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson’s Appian Way; a series based on the best-selling book They Can’t Kill Us All by Wesley Lowery; Old City Blues, by screenwriter Arash Amel, based on the Boom graphic novel; Catching Out, from writer/executive producer Amy Harris and executive producer Chloe Grace Moretz; and a manuscript by journalist Karla Cornejo Villavicencio called Undocumented America about undocumented immigrants across America.