Robert Harris thriller The Fear Index (Hutchinson) is set be a four-part Sky Original limited series starring "Penny Dreadful" actor Josh Hartnett, with production already underway.
Andy Harries of Left Bank Productions acquired TV rights via Harris' TV agent Bob Bookman, with the series produced by Left Bank Pictures in association with Sky Studios. The novel has been adapted by Paul Andrew Williams and Caroline Bartleet, and the series is being directed by David Caffrey ("Peaky Blinders").
First published in 2011, The Fear Index follows 24 hours in the life of Dr Alex Hoffman, a computer scientist and genius who is ready to make a killing. Alongside his Hedge Fund business partner and best friend Hugo, played by Arsher Ali, he’s launching "Vixal-4" to investors: an AI-driven system that exploits fear in the financial markets and operates at lightning speed to make big returns. The promise is billions, and the rich are ready to get richer, but this is not the day Alex and Hugo had planned on.
The series will be broadcast on Sky Atlantic and streaming service Now at the end of 2021, the same time as Netflix's adaptation of Harris' Munich (Hutchinson, 2017) is set to air.
Gabriel Silver, director of commissioning for drama at Sky Studios, commented: "Paul and Caroline’s scripts offer a relentlessly gripping take on a chilling Frankenstein parable of our times, and we are delighted to be working with Left Bank and the incredible cast, led by Josh Hartnett, to bring Robert Harris’s thrilling story to Sky."
Harris said: "It has taken 10 years to get The Fear Index to this point, and I'm especially grateful to Andy Harries and his team at Left Bank for their faith in the project and their determination to get it made. The scripts and the cast are terrific, and the subject at the heart of the book—the spread of Artificial Intelligence into every aspect of our lives—is even more relevant today than it was a decade ago."