Television is heading for a different type of "nuclear age," with Pulse Films optioning Vanity Fair journalist William Langewiesche's book for new scripted series The Atomic Bazaar. Set in the shadowy world of nuclear trafficking — from the compounds of wealthy drug lords to secret CIA and MI6 bases — the series is set to be scripted by Gregory Burke (71) and produced by Pulse alongside First Look Media's Topic banner.
Langewiesche's acclaimed nonfiction book was originally published in 2003, and here's publisher Farrar, Straus, and Giroux's official summary for The Atomic Bazaar: Dispatches from the Underground World of Nuclear Trafficking:
In his shocking and revelatory new work, the celebrated journalist William Langewiesche investigates the burgeoning global threat of nuclear weapons production. This is the story of the inexorable drift of nuclear weapons technology from the hands of the rich into the hands of the poor. As more unstable and undeveloped nations find ways of acquiring the ultimate arms, the stakes of state-sponsored nuclear activity have soared to frightening heights. Even more disturbing is the likelihood of such weapons being manufactured and deployed by guerrilla non-state terrorists.Langewiesche also recounts the recent history of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the scientist at the forefront of nuclear development and trade in the Middle East who masterminded the theft and sale of centrifuge designs that helped to build Pakistanâ's nuclear arsenal, and who single-handedly peddled nuclear plans to North Korea, Iran, and other potentially hostile countries. He then examines in dramatic and tangible detail the chances for nuclear terrorism.From Hiroshima to the present day, Langewiesche describes a reality of urgent consequence to us all. This searing, provocative, and timely report is a triumph of investigative journalism, and a masterful laying out of the most critical political problem the world now faces.
For Lucas Ochoa, MD of film and scripted TV at Pulse Films, Langewiesche's book is a perfect example of the type of timely and important subject matter Pulse Films is looking to tackle as they venture into scripted television drama:
"I'd met Greg Burke, and I felt he had a unique voice and had a similar ambition to do a show that is truly global in scope. We felt that ['Atomic Bazaar'] was a relevant story for the age we live in. Now more than ever there is a kind of emerging reality that the world is a fantastically complex and dangerous place, and there are global actors not limited by a border or international law.
It's globalization in tooth and claw. The reality of our nuclear programs was that we developed things that can be devastating but the mass or quantity of material needed is very small. When we think about global trade and how the world works that makes our position precarious, so it felt like an interesting setup."