–Academy-Award Winner William Hurt to Lead an All-Star Cast–
(Silver Spring, Md.) – Science Channel and Discovery Channel announced today that the networks will simulcast Science Channel’s first scripted feature film, THE CHALLENGER DISASTER, starring Academy-Award winning actor William Hurt as Nobel Prize-winning scientist Dr. Richard Feynman. Based upon Feynman’s book “What Do You Care What Other People Think?”, THE CHALLENGER DISASTER, tells the largely unknown, riveting story of Feynman’s efforts to uncover the cause of the Challenger explosion in 1986. THE CHALLENGER DISASTER premieres Saturday, November 16 from 9-11 PM ET/PT.
Co-produced by the BBC, THE CHALLENGER DISASTER features powerful performances headlined by Mr. Hurt as physicist Dr. Richard Feynman. Joining Hurt is actor Bruce Greenwood who plays fellow commissioner U.S. Air Force General Donald Kutyna in the second lead role. He is joined by Brian Dennehy as William Rogers, Chairman of the Presidential Commission, actress Joanne Whalley who plays Feynman’s wife Gweneth, and Eve Best as astronaut Sally Ride.
Dr. Feynman was chosen by William Robert Graham, one of his former students and NASA’s acting administrator, to lend his skills to the Presidential Commission tasked with investigating the disaster’s cause. Reluctant to participate, Feynman followed his scientific instincts during the investigation, unafraid of raising questions in the face of pressure from several commission members. He determined that two of the shuttle’s O-rings failed during launch. In a famous televised hearing Feynman demonstrated that the O-ring was not as pliable as previously thought by submerging a piece of the O-ring in a glass of ice water. At the investigation’s conclusion Feynman produced an essential report, “Appendix F – Personal Observations on the Reliability of the Shuttle”, that was presented to President Reagan independent of the commission’s report.
THE CHALLENGER DISASTER was co-produced by the BBC. For the BBC, Mark Hedgecoe (“Operation Iceberg” and “How to Grow A Planet”, “Rome: The Rise And Fall Of An Empire”) and Cassian Harrison (“Earthflight”, “First Light”) are executive producers, and Laurie Borg (“Great Expectations”, “Made in Dagenham”, “Sense and Sensibility”, “Occupation”) is producer. James Hawes (“Enid”, “Suspicions of Mister Whicher”, “Mad Dogs”, “Doctor Who”, “Fanny Hill”) is director and the script is by Kate Gartside (“Mistresses”, “Lillies” and “Lark Rise To Candleford”, “Stopping Distance”).
For Science Channel, Rocky Collins (DARK MATTERS: TWISTED BUT TRUE, ALIEN ENCOUNTERS) is executive producer, Lindsey Foster is coordinating producer, Bernadette McDaid is Vice President of Production, and Deborah Adler Myers is General Manager and Executive Vice President.