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Michael Winterbottom to make TV drama about Boris Johnson's handling of coronavirus

Michael Winterbottom (right) directs A Mighty Heart

Story by Jack Foley

REVERED filmmaker Michael Winterbottom is to make a new television drama about British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The filmmaker — whose recent credits include The Trip series and feature comedy Greed, both with Steve Coogan — is set to co-write and direct the real-life drama, which will be set against the global pandemic.

Winterbottom describes the Covid-19 pandemic as “the biggest national and personal crisis to face a government leader since World War II”.

Johnson himself fell critically ill due to COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus, and welcomed a new son just weeks later. However, he has been widely criticised for his actions before and during the outbreak in the UK, which currently has the highest coronavirus death toll in Europe and the second-highest death toll per capita in the world.

The as-yet-untitled series comes from Fremantle, alongside Passenger, the banner of True Detective and Catch-22 executive producer Richard Brown, and Melissa Parmenter’s Revolution Films.

Brown commented: “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.

“We’re excited to join forces with Michael and Revolution Films on this project, a story which appears to demonstrate that fact is indeed sometimes stranger than fiction.”

Andrea Scrosati, global COO at Fremantle, added: “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. The last few months in the life of the UK Prime Minister clearly mark one of these moments.”

As yet, there is no word on who is likely to play Johnson or when shooting will begin.

But Winterbottom has tackled real-life stories before, most notably with A Mighty Heart, which saw Angelina Jolie playing Mariane Pearl.