Adam McKay to Write and Direct The Uninhabitable Earth for HBO Max


Adam McKay is a director and a producer and an Oscar-winning writer, too. He’s also an activist, and he’ll be putting his passion for the environment to good use with The Uninhabitable Earth, a new anthology series for HBO Max inspired by David Wallace-Wells‘ bestselling book and New York Magazine article of the same name.

Announced by the streamer at TCA on Wednesday, the series concerns climate change, global warming and other environmental catastrophes, and will be comprised of fictional standalone stories that cover a wide range of genres and possible futures that could result from the rapid warming of our planet. The book offers readers a travelogue of the near future and the impending terrors — rising sea levels, food shortages, refugee emergencies, climate wars and economic devastation — that we will all face if we don’t take swift, sweeping measures to save the planet.

McKay, who recently closed a five-year, overall deal for television with HBO and HBO Max, is attached to executive produce, as well as write and direct the first episode. Per HBO Max, the plan is for the first season to enlist top directors and writers to join in creating a provocative and entertaining series that taps into our unease with just how delicately our planet is teetering on the precipice.


Image via Paramoun

Of course, “top directors” means different things to different people, but given that we’re talking about the environment here, I’m willing to bet that major filmmakers, and talent, will indeed line up for this. I mean, what if — and humor me here — Leonardo DiCaprio was like, ‘yeah, this is something meaningful that I want to be a part of.’ I mean, McKay has worked with A-list stars like Brad Pitt and Christian Bale, so there’s no telling who he might entice to come play with him on set for a few weeks in the name of a good cause.

“Adam is one of the rare artists who can deliver a pointed, impactful message in a piece of great entertainment,” said HBO Max’s content chief Kevin Reilly. “I can’t wait to see what he does with this material, as there is no timelier and more relevant message than a wake-up call on climate change and the growing impact on our lives.”

“I’ve been chomping at the bit to get this show going. I’m very happy that HBO Max stepped up and made the commitment. There’s obviously no subject as vast and daunting,” said McKay.

The Uninhabitable Earth hails from CAA’s content studio wiip, so given their access to talent, I’ll be curious to see what kind of names they bring to the table here. The series is executive produced by McKay and his Hyperobject Industries partner Kevin Messick and wiip’s Paul Lee and Mark Roybal, as well as David Kaplan and Andrea Roa of Animal Kingdom. Wallace-Wells will serve as a consulting producer.

Up next for McKay is a third season of Succession, as well as a new HBO series about the Showtime-era Lakers that will star John C. Reilly and Jason Clarke. McKay ended his creative partnership with longtime collaborator Will Ferrell last year, and you can read more about that split by clicking here.

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