The rights for New York Times bestselling author David Kirby’s widely acclaimed Death at SeaWorld (published by St. Martin’s Publishing Group) have been secured by Lorenzo Mieli for The Apartment (a Fremantle company behind international hits such as the Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino’s The Young Pope and The New Pope, and My Brilliant Friend by Saverio Costanzo based on Elena Ferrante’s bestselling books) and by BAFTA Award-winning producers Hilary Martin and Simon Judd for Castlefield, also a Fremantle company.
The deal was brokered on behalf of David Kirby by Allison Warren and Todd Shuster of Aevitas Creative Management. The two international companies, The Apartment and Castlefield, will join forces to produce a landmark, form-breaking ten part drama series based on the book with showrunner Simon Allen (Das Boot, The Watch, Spotless).
Death at SeaWorld draws on the acclaimed investigative thriller that preceded the award-winning documentary Blackfish to dive deeper on an epic true story of humanity versus nature, big business and primal horror. Set against 40 tumultuous years of history, heroic activism and mind-blowing scandals, Death at SeaWorld follows five compelling characters whose lives intertwine then collide with the 2010 slaughter of all-American SeaWorld poster girl by the captive killer whale Tilikum. The fallout of this disaster fired shockwaves around the globe which endure to this day as we repeatedly fail to heed the lesson that nature is not ours to control or commodify. It also triggered an exhilarating high stakes investigation and trial that went straight into the dark heart of our relationship with the natural world.
The Apartment CEO Lorenzo Mieli said “Death at SeaWorld will not only be a searingly relevant prestige television event but also an inspiring rallying call to protect the beauty and wonder of our troubled planet. I am thrilled to be bringing the remarkable untold chapters of this story to life with such a talented and committed team.”
For Castlefield, Hilary Martin (Managing Director) and Simon Judd (Creative Director) said “David’s groundbreaking book and Simon’s breathtaking take on the material have sparked to create an irresistible drama that is at once both emotionally intimate and globally resonant. We are delighted to be working alongside them both to build this compelling and impactful series”.
Production on Death at SeaWorld is intended to begin late 2021.