The prolific English filmmaker Michael Winterbottom is set to co-write and direct a TV series that dramatizes British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the production companies behind the project announced Friday.
The untitled series will “tell the true story of the biggest national and personal crisis to face a government leader since World War II,” the companies — Fremantle, Passenger and Revolution Films — said in a joint statement.
Johnson, who was hospitalized in an intensive care unitafter testing positive for COVID-19 in April, has been criticized for his response to the public health crisis.
The United Kingdom has the highest coronavirus death toll in Europe — more than 43,000 as of Friday afternoon — and the second-highest death toll per capita in the world.
The prime minister has come under particular scrutiny for his actions in the run-up to the British outbreak, with some experts claiming he waited too long to impose social restrictions and failed to adequately prepare the National Health Service with personal protective equipment.
Shortly after he was discharged from hospital, Johnson, 56, welcomed a new son — his first child with his fiancée, Carrie Symonds, 32.
“There are rare moments in history when leaders find their private lives uniquely connected to national events, where personal experience and official role collide in an unusual way,” Fremantle chief operating officer Andrea Scrosati said in a statement.
“The last few months in the life of the U.K. Prime Minister clearly mark one of these moments,” Scrosati added.
Winterbottom, 59, is widely considered one of the busiest and most eclectic filmmakers in British cinema, having directed more than 30 feature-length films in the last 25 years, including the recent financial satire “Greed,” starring frequent collaborator Steve Coogan.
He also directed three installments of the award-winning comedy series “The Trip,” co-starring Coogan.
“Michael Winterbottom is the ideal filmmaker to tell the story of the extraordinary events surrounding Boris Johnson’s new government and the Covid-19 pandemic, which has captured the attention of the world,” co-producer Richard Brown said in a statement.