Disney in Talks With Mike White to Write Gorilla Tale ‘The One and Only Ivan’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Disney in Talks with Mike White
Kevin Winter/Getty

Walt Disney Pictures is in negotiations with Mike White to write the adaptation of Katherine Applegate’s children’s gorilla story “The One and Only Ivan.”

The book, published by HarperCollins in 2011, centers on the silverback gorilla Ivan, who is in a cage at a shopping center with an elderly elephant named Stella and a stray dog named Bob. When a baby elephant arrives, Ivan regains his memories and plans an escape to protect the new elephant from their abusive owner.

The book, illustrated by Patricia Castelao and written in the voice of Ivan, won the 2013 Newbery Medal. Applegate based the story of a gorilla named Ivan who spent 27 years in a Washington mall before being transferred to an Atlanta zoo.

Allison Shearmur is producing “Ivan.” She’s also producing “Cinderella” for Disney.

White was the co-creator, co-executive producer, writer and actor for HBO’s “Enlightened” during its two-season run. He also directed another animal project, 2007′s Molly Shannon drama-comedy “Year of the Dog,” from his own script.

Variety first reported that White was in negotiations to direct and write but White’s reps told Variety that he’s only talks to write “Ivan.”

White is repped by UTA and Sloane Offer Weber and Dern.


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  1. Jessica says:

    The book is great. It may be written for children, but it’s a moving work for all ages. I think any animal-lover should read it. I don’t really know how they could do it justice on film though. And it’s a pretty dark topic for a Disney movie…

  2. Chelsea says:

    Well I do like the work Mike White has done on enlightened so I guess I can look forward to this new project Disney is working on.

  3. Smooth says:

    Just more super nonsense that will make millions of dollars, in that case I guess it’s not nonsense. Not one of those dollars will be mine.

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