EXCLUSIVE: Netflix has ordered a documentary series based on Big Vape: The Incendiary Rise of Juul, the new Henry Holt book by Time Magazine correspondent Jamie Ducharme. Series will be directed and executive produced by R.J. Cutler, who’s coming off the Showtime docu Belushi and Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry for Apple TV+ and Neon.
Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey will be exec producers for Amblin Television, alongside Elise Pearlstein and Trevor Smith for This Machine, and Ian Orefice and Rebecca Teitel for Time Studios.
Amblin optioned the book last year and Cutler came aboard in February. Series will chronicle the rise of Juul from a scrappy tech start-up to a multibillion-dollar tobacco company that at one point controlled 72% of the market. This will be no puff piece: Juul’s rise, and the high nicotine concentration and flavored products, helped spark what top health authorities labeled an epidemic of youth addiction.
Ducharme is a Time staffer who covers health, science and medicine and has written almost 40 articles on vaping since joining the publication. Her cover story, The New American Addiction: How Juul Hooked Kids and Ignited a Public Health Crisis, became one of the magazine’s most read stories of 2019.
Cutler’s won Emmys and has been Oscar nominated for his work that includes The War Room, A Perfect Candidate, The September Issue, Listen to Me Marlon, The World According to Dick Cheney and Thin. He has created such nonfiction TV programs as the Emmy-winning American High, Freshman Diaries and 30 Days. He also hatched and directed Nashville, and the Chloe Grace Moretz-starrer If I Stay, as well as the podcast The Oval Office Tapes. Cutler is teaming with Imagine Documentaries on Murf The Surf, a docu series on the jewel thief Jack Roland Murphy for EPIX.
Cutler is repped by Lighthouse Management + Media, CAA and Jeanne Newman at HJTH.