Julianna Margulies to Star in 'The 'Hot Zone' TV Miniseries

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Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for AMC

Julianna Margulies has booked her next gig!

The Emmy-winning The Good Wife and ER star will headline the upcoming National Geographic adaptation of the 1995 best-selling non-fiction novel, The Hot Zone, it was announced Wednesday at summer Television Critics Association press tour. 

Based on the eponymous novel by Richard PrestonThe Hot Zone recounts the true story of the origins of the Ebola virus, a highly infectious deadly virus from the central African rain forest and its first arrival on U.S. soil. In 1989, when this killer virus suddenly appeared in chimpanzees in a scientific research lab in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., there was no known cure. A heroic U.S. Army scientist working with a secret military SWAT team put her life on the line to head off the outbreak before it spread to the human population. 

Margulies, who currently portrays the narcissistic fashion editor Kitty Montgomery on AMC's Dietland, will play the heroine at the center of the story, Dr. Nancy Jaax, who is described as "courageous, brilliant and determined."

Filming will kick off this fall in Toronto and South Africa. 

“Julianna is dream casting for the role of Dr. Nancy Jaax,” said Carolyn Bernstein, Executive Vice President of Global Scripted Development and Production at National Geographic. “Her rare combination of warmth, strength, humor and intelligence are the perfect recipe to make this terrifying true story feel relatable, grounded and human. The Hot Zone is the perfect example of National Geographic’s commitment to premium, brand-relevant storytelling that is at once wildly entertaining and deepens people’s understanding of the world.”

Margulies' casting comes on the heels of NatGeo's concerted effort to aim its scripted programming with ambitious tales and big-name talent, following Antonio Banderas playing Pablo Picasso in the second installment of Genius, the upcoming return of Mars and the launch of the 1990s Silicon Valley drama, Valley of the Boom, with Bradley Whitford.

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