EXCLUSIVE: One of U.S.’ biggest economic stories of the 21st century, how to save American jobs in the face of outsourcing, is getting a personal treatments in Factory Man, a miniseries in development at HBO. The project, produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone, is based on Beth Macy’s nonfiction book Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local – And Helped Save An American Town. It tells the story of the Bassett family: Throughout much of the 20th century, generations of the family oversaw the rise of their furniture manufacturing company, Bassett Furniture, the biggest employer in their Virginia hometown. But with the onset of the 21st century, global capitalism threatened the future of the company, and the family scion, John Bassett III, was forced to take on China — as well as his own industry — in order to keep his family’s legacy alive. Hanks and Goetzman will executive produce the miniseries, with Steven Shareshian serving as co-executive producer and Peter McGuigan as co-producer.
Factory Man marks the first book for prize-winning journalist Macy. Since its July 15 release, it has garnered strong reviews and sales, debuting on the New York Times bestseller list at No. 10 and staying on it for seven weeks and counting. Macy received the J. Anthony Lukas Award for work-in-progress while writing Factory Man.
CAA-repped Playtone is the go-to miniseries producer for HBO. The company was behind Band Of Brothers, The Pacific and John Adams, all Emmy winners for best miniseries. It also is producing HBO’s upcoming Olive Kitteridge miniseries; the Lewis And Clark mini, which is moving towards production with the recent casting of Casey Affleck; as well as the long-gestating followup to Band Of Brothers and The Pacific. The deal for Factory Man was negotiated by David Davoli of Davoli Law Firm and Peter McGuigan of Foundry Literary + Media.