Leonardo DiCaprio, National Geographic Developing 'The Right Stuff' Series

Oscar-winning actor will executive produce scripted series about U.S. fighter pilots and first Mercury astronauts

Leonardo DiCaprio will executive produce scripted series 'The Right Stuff,' about U.S. fighter pilots and first Mercury astronauts Credit: Warner Bros/Kob/REX Shutterstock, Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic

Leonardo DiCaprio is on board to executive produce a new scripted series based on Tom Wolfe's best-selling nonfiction book The Right Stuff, teaming up with National Geographic via his production company, Appian Way Productions.

The multi-hyphenate will work alongside Jennifer Davisson and Will Staples for the project; the latter will both executive produce and write the scripted series.

Wolfe's The Right Stuff tells the story of the U.S. fighter pilots who tested the early aircraft and rockets that would eventually become the foundation of the American space program, and chronicles the rise of the first Mercury astronauts. Wolfe's acclaimed work was published in 1979, and it was previously adapted into a feature film in 1983.

"Having already had a rich relationship with Leonardo, Jennifer and their production company Appian Way on Before the Flood, I’m excited to work with them in a scripted capacity," Courteney Monroe, CEO of National Geographic Global Networks, told Variety in a statement. "With The Right Stuff, we're looking at moment in time where the everyday life, the trials and tribulations, of these men was scrutinized in the public. The story gives a peek into the minds and goals of these astronauts seeking exploration and adventure during the space race of the '50s, making it the perfect story for National Geographic to tell."

Davisson, who has previously worked with DiCaprio on a number of projects, including 2015 hit The Revenant (DiCaprio won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance), noted in a separate statement: "We couldn't think of a better partner [National Geographic] to bring The Right Stuff to the world. The heroism of these astronauts was rivaled only by the country’s fascination with their story; this series uncovers both the adventure of space exploration and the adventure of being unwittingly thrust into the public eye."

According to Deadline.com, the series will use the book as a starting point, but will tackle one mission each season, with season one kicking off at the height of the Cold War in 1958.