Well here’s one way to get your feet wet.
According to author Michael Lewis, former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama have acquired rights to his nonfiction book The Fifth Risk for adaptation, the first project that the couple would put into development under the Netflix production deal they secured earlier this year. Deadline first reported the news.
EW can confirm that in an interview with Katie Couric on her podcast, Lewis has revealed that the Obamas optioned The Fifth Risk, and that the goal is to, in Couric’s words, “come up with a series for Netflix to help people better understand the government.” The episode is scheduled to go live on Thursday.
Netflix declined to comment. Representatives for The Fifth Risk did not respond to a request for comment. Additionally, EW has learned that the Obamas are exploring projects, but nothing has been “green-lit” at this stage.
What exactly is The Fifth Risk, you may ask? In a year filled with splashy Trump takedowns in the book world, it ranks among the most scathing takes on the president’s tenure thus far, interweaving research and interviews to paint an alarming portrait of an administration whose unpreparedness and incompetence have put the government’s stability and functionality in grave danger. He particularly indicts the alleged brand of politics and ignorance behind Trump’s stewardship of such vital agencies as the Department of Energy, the NOAA, and the USDA. “The book is a brilliant indictment of Trump and his appointees’ foolhardy ignorance of what federal agencies actually do and how,” USA Today wrote in its review earlier this month.
Lewis, it’s worth noting, is no stranger to Hollywood. As he proves again in The Fifth Risk, he has a knack for rendering even the wonkiest material not only accessible, but wildly entertaining. His books Moneyball and The Big Short, of course, were turned into movies that scored Oscar nominations for Best Picture, with the latter also winning the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. The Fifth Risk is a relatively sober read, yet still written with the enthusiasm and clarity which Lewis is known for. The book published on Oct. 2, and promptly landed on the New York Times best-seller list.
As for the Obamas: Plenty of intrigue has surrounded the announcement of their huge Netflix pact, which came back in May. But there’s been no news on what they’d use the platform for, exactly — until now.