Walt Disney Pictures is in negotiations to acquire the screen rights for The One and Only Ivan, written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by Patricia Castelao.
The book, which was published by HarperCollins in 2011 and won the prestigious Newberry Medal, centers on the silverback gorilla Ivan, an elderly elephant named Stella and a stray dog dubbed Bob, who all live in a cage at a shopping center. Although Ivan cannot remember his life before the mall, he begins to regain his memories when a baby elephant arrives, as he concocts a plan to escape back to the wild to protect this infant animal from their abusive owner. Katherine Applegate based the story on a real life gorilla named Ivan, who spent 27 years in a Washington mall before being transferred to an Atlanta zoo. The book has spent 60 consecutive weeks and counting on the New York Times best-seller list.
Disney is currently searing for a writer to adapt the material for what is intended to be a live-action feature. Allison Shearmur (Cinderella) is on board as a producer. Katherine Applegate's agent, Jason Dravis, also represents The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins. Both Shearmur and Dravis first met when she was serving as Lionsgate's president of production, while setting up the first Hunger Games movie.