Production on the documentary is set to begin early next year. Producers are David Koh, Stanley Buchthal, Josh Braun and Dan Braun.
The deal was announced Sunday at the Toronto Film Festival. Sullivan will serve as an advisor on the film, sharing his archive of research materials not included in the book.
Like the book, the film will feature facts about rats, such as their ability to have sex 20 times a day and produce thousands of offspring, along with portraits of city dwellers, exterminators, trash collectors, city officials, scientists, ethnographers, scholars and historians. It will also show most infested areas of NYC and a history of how rats came from London, Norway and Holland on ships.
“We have been obsessed and terrified by rats living in NYC over the years and when we read Robert Sullivan’s book we couldn’t put it down,” the producers said. “We look forward to collaborating with him and bringing his highly entertaining and scholarly book to the big screen. We have been involved with a lot of other successful documentaries about animals (‘Blackfish,’ ‘Buck,’ ‘The Cove’) and this seemed like one of the greatest subjects for a movie.”
Sullivan is the author of “The Meadowlands,” “My American Revolution,” “Cross Country,” “How Not to Get Rich” and “A Whale Hunt.”