Millennium Films have teamed up with the estate of Curious George creators H.A. and Margaret Rey, and Lay Lee Ong, estate literary executor, for an untitled new Curious George Biopic project that will chart the origin story of this iconic character. This comes just weeks after Millennium brought on new president Jeffrey Greenstein and co-president Jonathan Yunger, who had both been chasing this project for over two years. Writer Sam Cohn brought the project to the studio, who was thanked by Jonathan Yunger in his statement.
"We are incredibly fortunate to have the Rey estate's complete confidence and consent, and the approval of Lay Lee, to tell this story. We are also grateful to our friend and writer, Sam Cohan, for bringing us the project."
It was Sam Cohan who introduced Greenstein and Yunger to Ema Ryan Yamazaki, the director of the documentary Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George's Creators, which was acquired for distribution by The Orchard last year. A deal was then signed for Yamazaki to use her new documentary to base this narrative feature film on, which will be written by Cohan. Here's what JEffrey Greenstein had to say about the extraordinary lengths these creators took to make Curious George.
"The epitome of mixing passion with business is being blessed to tell this tremendous story of the great lengths H.A. and Margaret Rey went through to save their manuscript, while fleeing Nazi occupied Europe for their lives. Curious George went on to inspire and charm millions worldwide, and soon, so shall the Reys' unbelievable true story."
Jeffrey Greenstein and Jonathan Yunger will be producing alongside Sam Cohan and Ema Ryan Yamazaki, although no director has been attached at this time. Millennium's Avi Lerner, Trever Short, Boaz Davidson and John Thompson will all be serving as executive producers. Curious George was first known as Fifi in the first story, 1939's Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys, before the first Curious George book was published in 1941. That book centered on George, a monkey living in Africa, who was brought to America to live in the big city by a character only known as The Man With the Yellow Hat. The creators published seven books between 1941 and 1966, with H.A. Rey passing away in 1977 and Margaret Rey passing away in 1996. This project is not related to Universal's Curious George reboot with Andrew Adamson (Shrek franchise) set to direct.
In 1989, the Curious George Foundation was created to help fund programs for children and programs that also benefit animals, including preventing animal cruelty. This report from Deadline reveals that a portion of the movie's profits will be donated to the Curious George Foundation. Sam Cohan's writing credits include the Sundance hit Fishing Without Nets and The Closest Thing to Rain.