The adaptation is said to explore how man became the planet’s dominant species. Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Alien) and Oscar-winning documentarian Asif Kapadia (Amy, Senna) is teaming together to adapt the international best-seller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Israeli professor Yuval Noah Harari.
Sapiens has an extensive reach: charting the entire journey of human beings from prehistoric creatures to the present. Harari tries to explain how Homo sapiens, just one of many branches of the early sapien’s family tree, came to dominate the planet. “Nobody, least of all humans themselves,” he writes, “had any inkling that their descendants would one day walk on the moon, split the atom, fathom the genetic code and write history books.”
Scott will produce and Kapadia will direct the adaptation. Given the scope of the material, the exact format for the adaptation is being kept open-ended right now, but a multiplatform event experience is imagined for the material.
Kapadia in a statement said, “It is a book that changes how you see the world and our adaptation should do the same, to serve as a wake-up call for who we are, where we have come from and where we are heading.” Added Scott, “For years Asif and I have been looking for a project to collaborate on,” and Sapiens “has all the elements to be massively entertaining as well as historically important.” (Indeed, Scott first approached Kapadia after seeing his debut film, The Warrior, in 2001.)
Scott and Kapadia secured the rights, represented by WME, in 2017. The development of the project is being supported by Wellcome. The project will be a co-production between Scott Free Productions and On the Corner Films and executive produced for Scott Free by Jack Arbuthnott and David Zucker and for On the Corner by Kapadia and James Gay-Rees.