Patrick Fugit will reunite with Crowe for the first time since starring in his 2000 hit Almost Famous, although it wasn't known what role he will play in We Bought a Zoo. Elle Fanning will portray Lily, a 13-year-old worker at the zoo, even though she isn't legally old enough to have a job. Lily actually lives on the zoo property and Scarlett Johansson's character, Kelly, becomes a motherly figure to her.
Matt Damon will star as the new owner of this dilapidated zoo, who tries to rebuild the zoo with his family. Colin Ford is also in talks to portray Matt Damon's son, Dylan, who sparks the interest of Lily.
No production schedule for We Bought a Zoo was released. Cameron Crowe will direct from his own rewritten script. Aline Brosh McKenna wrote the first draft of the script, which was adapted from Benjamin Mee's non-fiction book.