Universal Pictures and Tom Shadyac will bring to the big screen the true story of John Francis, who walked from one end of the country to the other and didn't speak a word for nearly two decades, according to Variety. Shadyac, who is currently directing Evan Almighty, will develop the film to direct.

The studio has acquired Francis' memoir Planetwalker and set Justin Zackham to write the script. Zackham just scripted The Bucket List for Warner Bros.

After witnessing a collision of two oil tankers that wiped out the ecosystem in San Francisco Bay in 1971, Francis boycotted motor vehicles and took off on foot for a cross-country pilgrimage to raise environmental awareness, taking a vow of silence that lasted 18 years. He finally broke silence when he defended his Ph.D. thesis, which he wrote on the subject of oil spills.