From what I can tell, Kenneth Oppel’s young adult novel Half Brother is a touching coming-of-age story that examines the bond of family and friendship. However, Oppel explores these themes through the relationship between a young boy and his chimpanzee, so you’ll have to forgive me when I exclaim “Ooh, monkey!”
Variety reports that Christian Taylor (Hick) and Eva Orner (Taxi to the Dark Side) have optioned the rights to Half Brother; the duo is currently looking for a screenwriter to adapt Oppel’s novel. The film is set in the 1970s and said to feature “a magical quality reminiscent of E.T.” Read the official synopsis for Half Brother after the jump.
For thirteen years, Ben Tomlin was an only child. But all that changes when his mother brings home Zan — an eight-day-old chimpanzee. Ben’s father, a renowned behavioral scientist, has uprooted the family to pursue his latest research project: a high-profile experiment to determine whether chimpanzees can acquire advanced language skills. Ben’s parents tell him to treat Zan like a little brother. Ben reluctantly agrees. At least now he’s not the only one his father’s going to scrutinize.
It isn’t long before Ben is Zan’s favorite, and Ben starts to see Zan as more than just an experiment. His father disagrees. To him, Zan is only a specimen, no more, no less. And this is going to have consequences. Soon Ben is forced to make a critical choice between what he is told to believe and what he knows to be true — between obeying his father or protecting his brother from an unimaginable fate.
Half Brother isn’t just a story about a boy and a chimp. It’s about the way families are made, the way humanity is judged, the way easy choices become hard ones, and how you can’t always do right by the people and animals you love. In the hands of master storyteller Kenneth Oppel, it’s a novel you won’t soon forget. [Amazon]
“Half Brother isn’t just a story about a boy and a chimp. No, really. We promise. Grow up, Brendan!”