Disney has commenced production at the London-area’s Pinewood Studios for The One and Only Ivan, a live-action/CG hybrid adaptation of the children’s book by Katherine Applegate to be directed by Thea Sharrock (Me Before You). Two-time Independent Spirit Award-winner Mike White (Pitch Perfect 3, The School of Rock) turned in the script based on Applegate’s award-winning book.
The One and Only Ivan will star Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominee and four-time Emmy-winner Bryan Cranston, Ramon Rodriquez (Iron Fist The Defenders), Arianna Greenblatt (A Bad Moms Christmas), Indira Varma (Patrick Melrose, Exodus: Gods and Kings) and Eleanor Matsuura (Wonder Woman, Sherlock) to tell a tale based on the true story of a uniquely-talented gorilla and the other animals who share a communal habitat at a suburban shopping mall.
The film features the vocal talents of Angelina Jolie, Academy Award-winner Sam Rockwell and Critics’ Choice Award winner Brooklynn Prince (The Florida Project). Oscar and three-time Golden Globe-winner Helen Mirren (Winchester, The Queen) and Emmy and Golden Globe-winner Danny DeVito (Dumbo, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) have also signed on to voice characters in the film.
Applegate’s award-winning book, a #1 New York Times’ bestseller, has won the Newberry Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children in 2013, among others. Here’s the full synopsis (via HarperCollins):
This stirring and unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendships. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated novel is told from the point of view of Ivan himself.
Having spent 27 years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.
The One and Only Ivan was hailed as a best book of the year by Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Amazon, demonstrating it is a true classic in the making.
In the tradition of timeless stories like Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope. An author’s note depicts the differences between the fictional story and true events.
On board as producers are Oscar and three-time Golden Globe-winner Jolie, the late Allison Shearmur and Brigham Taylor.