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Brie Larson heats up the kitchen in “Lessons in Chemistry”

Brie Larson heats up the kitchen in “Lessons in Chemistry”

The recipe goes something like this: Start with a beloved novel with sharp prose and a stylish 1950s setting. Add an Oscar-winning actress, a starry ensemble, and one very, very adorable dog. Then, turn up the heat.

The result? Lessons in Chemistry, a delightful concoction that blends science and cooking to create something delicious. This Apple TV+ drama (premiering Oct. 13) is based on Bonnie Garmus' best-selling novel about a 1950s chemist who starts a second act as a TV cooking show host. Brie Larson plays the brilliant Elizabeth Zott, who uses her scientific knowledge to become an unlikely TV star — and a model for women's liberation.

"She did so much research," series creator Lee Eisenberg says of Larson. "She's a very believable chemist, and she is a more than believable cook. More than that, she just has a giant heart, and all of that comes through."

Lessons in Chemistry Brie Larson
Lessons in Chemistry Brie Larson

Apple TV+ Brie Larson as Elizabeth Zott in 'Lessons in Chemistry'

Garmus' book became an instant bestseller when it hit shelves last year, and Eisenberg (The Office, Jury Duty) first encountered the novel when his wife picked up a copy on their honeymoon. Before long, he says, they were highlighting passages together, marveling at Garmus' clever prose. "We were literally just reading lines aloud to one another," he remembers. "The writing was so crisp, so inventive, so beautiful." Today, he calls it "probably my favorite book that I've ever read."

Eisenberg later reached out to Apple TV+, volunteering to help shepherd Garmus' story from page to screen. "Had my wife been reading a different book — or had her Kindle not been charged — this song would've gone very differently," he adds with a laugh.

The result is an eight-episode miniseries that follows Elizabeth from the science lab to the TV studio. (Garmus herself weighed in on all the scripts, sharing notes both about the characters and the science elements.) When Lessons in Chemistry begins, Elizabeth is working as a lab tech, a brilliant and accomplished chemist who's underestimated by her male peers (and often assumed to be a secretary). She soon bonds with her chemist coworker Calvin (Lewis Pullman), and the pair eventually fall in love. But when Elizabeth is forced out of her lab work, she launches a second career, hosting the hit TV cooking show Supper at Six.

Lessons in Chemistry Brie Larson
Lessons in Chemistry Brie Larson

Michael Becker/Apple TV+ 'Lessons in Chemistry'

Garmus' novel has been praised for its scientific accuracy, and Eisenberg wanted to preserve the same attention to detail for the show, hiring experts to consult both on the science and the cooking. He notes that he wanted the show to not just be scientifically accurate but scientifically accurate for the 1950s, right down the specific kinds of beakers and test tubes that Elizabeth uses.

The cast also includes Aja Naomi King as Elizabeth's neighbor and Kevin Sussman as her TV producer — as well as one key four-legged star. Elizabeth and Calvin have a dog named Six-Thirty, played by a canine actor named Gus, and Eisenberg teases that he's one of the show's secret ingredients.

"He'll probably be nominated," Eisenberg deadpans. "We're submitting him for all categories."

Lessons in Chemistry Brie Larson
Lessons in Chemistry Brie Larson

Michael Becker/Apple TV+ 'Lessons in Chemistry'

Lessons in Chemistry will debut Oct. 13 on Apple TV+.

Make sure to check out EW's Fall TV Preview cover story on Gen V — as well as all of our 2023 Fall TV Preview content, releasing through Sept. 21.

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