Film rights to Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen's Depression-era circus novel that has climbed atop the paperback bestseller lists, have been optioned by Andrew R. Tennenbaum, a producer of The Bourne Ultimatum, according to Variety.

Leonard Hartman, who recently wrote a script based on R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series for Universal, will do the adaptation.

The story follows Jacob Jankowski, who is about to take his final exams in veterinary medicine at Cornell when his parents are killed in a car accident. He drops out and joins Benzini Brothers, a second-rate traveling circus trying to survive during the Depression.