COVID-19 is not yet a thing of the past, but it’s already making its way into the movies. According to Deadline, Universal Pictures has secured rights to adapt Michael Lewis’ book The Premonition: A Pandemic Story. The book was just published earlier this month, and follows a biochemist, public health worker, and federal government employee in the White House trying to warn the country about the coming pandemic, well aware that it will become deadlier and more worrisome than President Trump communicated to the public. It’s been described as similar in tone to All the President’s Men.
This is not the first time that Lewis has had one of his books picked up and made into a successful film. The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game became the Oscar-winning movie starring Sandra Bullock. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game earned six Oscar nominations for its Brad Pitt-led adaptation, and his next book, The Big Short, actually managed to pick up an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for its script. There are two upcoming films in development based on his books, Liar’s Poker at Warner Bros and Flash Boys at Netflix, in addition to The Fifth Risk, which is set to become a series for Netflix. His content always seems to be relevant, but there’s nothing quite as current as the pandemic in the minds of all Americans.
2020 and 2021 have already seen a decent number of projects debut about the pandemic, and the most high-profile ones have taken a lighthearted approach. TV series Coastal Elites, Connecting…, and Social Distance all made use of Zoom screens to tell relatable stories to audiences stuck at home and forced to see one another only through computers, while SXSW films like The End of Us and Recovery portrayed people trying desperately to navigate complicated situations made even worse by a pandemic. While Lewis’ previous works have been laced with a dark and dry sense of humor, it’s likely that The Premonition: A Pandemic Story will lean more on the drama.
Also announced on the film are directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who won an Oscar for producing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. They will be joined as producers for Lord Miller by Aditya Sood, as well as Amy Pascal via Pascal Pictures and Rachel O’Connor. Lord and Miller will first work on Project Hail Mary for MGM, starring Ryan Gosling and also adapted from a brand-new novel, this one by Andy Weir.