HOLLYWOOD — Fox 2000 Pictures has acquired the rights to “American Shaolin” — Ivy League undergrad Matthew Polly’s autobiographical account of how he left midway through his studies to learn martial arts in mainland China with the famed Shaolin fighting monks.
“Shaolin” will be published as a nonfiction book this year by Gotham/Penguin, and insiders say the studio has paid low-six against mid-six figures for Polly’s tale.
Book tells the story of Polly’s yearslong mental and physical transformation from a long-bullied milquetoast to a confident and highly capable martial artist while in the small mountain village in Hunan.
“In my head, I kind of felt cowardly,” said Polly. “I thought, If I go to Shaolin, I’ll be tough.”
Fox 2000 prexy Elizabeth Gabler and exec VP of production Carla Hacken will oversee the project.
Polly, now a Gotham-based journo who writes for Slate, Playboy and the Nation, is repped by UTA.