According to Deadline, Channing Tatum (through his Free Association label) is set to produce a six-episode limited series about Elon Musk and his private rocket company SpaceX. The show will be about Musk as “handpicks a team of engineers to work on a remote Pacific island” as they work on launching SpaceX’s first manned rocket into orbit. The series will be written by Doug Jung of Star Trek Beyond and based on the book Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, And The Quest For A Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance. Deadline also suggests that there are some high hopes for this series, noting the success of previous HBO miniseries like Watchmen, Chernobyl, and the first season of Big Little Lies.
But the thing about Elon Musk is that telling any of his story feels totally bizarre unless you tell all of his story. Sure, he’s a rich guy who likes to throw money at making spaceships, and that seems like it would be a worthy premise for a TV show, but he’s also a guy who said California’s “stay at home” order in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic was “fascist,” got in trouble with the SEC for making a weed joke about Tesla’s stock price, and built that stupid fucking Cybertruck. A TV show about Elon Musk, the space entrepreneur, is like making a TV show about Lex Luthor, the prominent Metropolis real estate developer. It’s not technically inaccurate, but there is a bit more to it than that.
Of course, HBO’s series could actually attempt to capture the multitudes that Elon Musk contains, and that would make for a much more interesting miniseries (imagine how wild Chernobyl would’ve been if Jared Harris’ character had been extremely annoying and everyone had to listen to him anyway), but that’s not really the vibe this Deadline story is giving off.