Earlier in the year, it was reported that former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama had partnered up with Netflix to produce content for the platform. Now, the New York Times says that their first project is underway — an adaptation of The Fifth Risk, a book by Michael Lewis. The book documents the messy process of transitioning from Obama’s administration to Trump’s administration. Lewis details the consequences of giving important bureaucratic jobs to inexperienced employees. He especially places an emphasis on jobs within the Agriculture, Commerce, and Energy departments.
Lewis revealed in an interview on Katie Couric’s podcast that he had sold the rights to his book to Higher Ground, the Obama’s production company. It is not yet known what they are adapting the book into, but Higher Ground’s deal with Netflix was for the production of “scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features.” After the news of their first project was announced, the public began to speculate if the Obama’s are going to use their Netflix deal to only promote their beliefs. A spokeswoman for Higher Ground says this is not the case.
“This project will not rehash the transition or examine the current administration — or any administration, for that matter — but instead will focus on the parts of [Lewis’s] book that give life to the lesser-known functions of government,” she said, as the The Hill reported. “Their goal is to produce a humorous series demystifying the little-known ways in which federal agencies improve our lives and serve our nation, from the food we eat to the planes we travel on.”
Lewis himself even said that while he is not a fan of Trump, he still holds Obama accountable for a lot of the problems that the government has. He feels Obama did not do enough to fix some of the issues he details in his book.
“Trump is symptom, not just cause here,” Lewis said. “We don’t elect someone who is so ignorant and negligent unless we got to the point where we so misvalue and misunderstand the thing he’s running. If society understood the government, if we all had a good civics lesson, we’d all say that person shouldn’t be running that because it’d be a catastrophe because that enterprise, the government, is really important.”
Lewis is no stranger to having his best-selling books adapted into films. He was the author of both Moneyball and The Big Short, and both titles became successful feature films.