Though she has produced such theatrical blockbusters as Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Gale Anne Hurd has recently found herself working with large-scale projects on the small screen. Now that AMC’s smash-hit The Walking Dead has solidified her as a top-notch producer in both formats, Hurd is turning her attention to the conspiracy-laden government facility Area 51.
Reportedly, Hurd is ready to begin shopping around a new hour-long drama based on the book Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base, from author Annie Jacobsen.
In the book, Jacobsen recounts the long, mysterious history of Area 51 through first-hand accounts of some 19 individuals who worked – and sometimes lived on - the military base, and another 55 that had ties to the facility in some form or another. Jacobsen’s work goes a long way in dispelling many of the rumors regarding the existence of extraterrestrial life on the base, as well as the persistent gossip that Area 51 also housed alien technology, a vast network of underground tunnels and its very own nuclear research facility.
Though more benign than the focal point of a global cover-up, which only The X-Files has seen, Jacobsen’s findings do conclude that Area 51 has been used to produce supersonic jet fighters, engage in the testing of nuclear weapons and, most recently, as a hub in the ongoing War on Terror.
Apparently, this Area 51 series concerns two men employed at the base who suddenly find their lives at risk after they discover classified information that the government is willing to do anything to protect.
Given the source material and the somewhat ambiguous description of Area 51, the question of how much, or if at all, the series will focus on the more outrageous claims made about the site – particularly regarding alien life forms and their advanced technology – will undoubtedly arise. Of course, any show revolving around a mystery with such earth-shattering consequences will likely engage in a heavy amount of teasing – so even if Area 51 makes it to series, such answers could be a long way off.
Then again, Area 51 may be a simple thriller, more focused on what goes on behind closed doors with our government than whether or not beings from another world are prowling the confines of the now legendary military facility. Perhaps those aspects are better suited to the long-delayed film Area 51 from Paranormal Activity director Oren Peli.
Whatever the case, the answers likely lie with writer Karl Gajdusek, who will also serve as showrunner and executive producer – should Area 51 be granted a series order. The scribe has been busy of late, after completing work on the upcoming Tom Cruise feature Oblivion, as well as the adaptation of comic writer Rick Remender’s superlative series The Last Days of American Crime.
This will mark the third television series behind The Walking Dead that Hurd is involved in. The producer’s Valhalla Entertainment is also working on an adaptation of Jeffery Archer’s The Eleventh Commandment, and the pirate series Port Royal – from an original idea conceived by Hurd.
Area 51 is rumored to begin its rounds with various networks following the Thanksgiving holiday, so stay tuned for further announcements.