We first reported on the project back in April, when Disney was in negotiations to acquire the screen rights for Katherine Applegate's 2011 novel, which won the Newberry Medal. The story follows a silverback gorilla named Ivan, who lives in captivity at a massive shopping center with an elephant named Stella and a stray dog named Bob. While Ivan previously couldn't remember any part of his life after he was brought to this shopping center, he begins to recall vivid memories after a baby elephant arrives. Ivan teams up with Stella and Bob to escape and return this baby elephant back to the wild.
Katherine Applegate based her story on a real life gorilla named Ivan, who spent 27 years in a Washington D.C. shopping mall before being transferred to the Atlanta zoo. Allison Shearmur (Cinderella) is producing the adaptation, although it isn't known when production will begin.
Mike White co-created, wrote, produced and starred in the HBO TV series Enlightened during its two-season run. The filmmaker made his directorial debut with Year of the Dog, and he also wrote the screenplays for Orange County, The Good Girl, School of Rock and Nacho Libre.