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Production To Start On 'The First' Later This Year

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Production is to begin later this year on a new eight-part drama series detailing the first human mission to Mars.

'The First', created and written by American screenwriter Beau Willimon, will explore the challenges of taking the first steps toward interplanetary colonization.

As well as creating the series, Mr Willimon will serve as executive producer alongside his producing partner, Jordan Tappis.

"It's a story about the human spirit," said Willimon.

"About our indomitable need to reach for unknown horizons. About people working toward the greatest pioneering achievement in human history. And about the cost of that vision, the danger and sacrifice – emotional, psychological, and physical – that's required to achieve it. How ordinary, imperfect people band together and overcome a myriad of obstacles to grasp the extraordinary."

Westward – an independent film and television studio founded by Willimon and Tappis – will own and produce The First. The series will be co-financed by Hulu, Channel 4 and IMG and will premiere on Channel 4 in the UK and Hulu in the US. IMG will handle sales in all territories.

The series was commissioned for Channel 4 by Simon Maxwell, Head of International Drama, and Beth Willis, Head of Drama. For Hulu the series was commissioned by Craig Erwich and Beatrice Springborn, Head of Originals.

Mr Tappis said: "We are thrilled with this team. Hulu and Channel 4 have demonstrated a commitment to bold, high-quality story telling. Their creative insight, wealth of experience and entrepreneurial spirit make them ideal partners for this series. IMG's success in bringing premier content to the rest of world ensures this story will have a strong global audience."

Mr Maxwell added: "We are proud to be backing the bold, creative talent working on The First and to be partnering with Beau and Jordan at Westward, alongside Hulu and IMG, on this ambitious and thrilling project."

'The First' will go into production later this year and is slated to premiere on Hulu and Channel 4 in 2018.

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