David France’s seminal AIDS documentary, How to Survive a Plague, didn’t win at the Oscars on Sunday, but it getting turned into a dramatic miniseries on ABC, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Plague focuses on the birth of ACT UP and the Treatment Action Group (TAG), two grassroots activist organizations that forced the government and the pharmaceutical industry to address the AIDS epidemic head-on. Despite a lack of formal training, activists worked from within drug companies to get life-saving medicine into the hands of those who desperate needed it.
The miniseries—which is still in the planning stages—would expand on the doc and add characters and dramatic elements. “We know we’d like [the miniseries] to be an extended story that’s not just about AIDS and what AIDS wrought, but about this tremendous civil-rights movement that grew from the ashes of AIDS, and the dawn of the LGBT movement,”says France, who is working on the project with producing partner Howard Gertler.
“People got a sense from the doc that many of the activists were soldiers drafted into a war that perhaps they were not ready to fight but that they had trained themselves for,” adds Gertler. “We really want to show a wide audience how that happened.”
We would’ve guessed such a heavy topic would wind up at HBO or Showtime, but France says he thrilled to be on the Alphabet Network: “ABC is the network of Roots—For [them], this is a continuation of a dialogue that they’ve had with their viewers and with history, and that to me was the most decisive and convincing fact in our discussion — this idea that we can do that again and that we can be that for the gay community.”