Siegel and McGehee had most recently been attached to direct a long-gestating 20th Century Fox adaptation of Richard Preston’s “The Hot Zone” — about a deadly Ebola viral outbreak — but ankled that project when it became clear that “Bee” was more in line with their creative sensibilities.
Pic is an adaptation of Myla Goldberg’s first novel of the same name, about how an 11-year-old’s sudden emergence as a national spelling prodigy changes her place in the world and unravels her family’s ties to one another.
That theme has long been attractive to Bona Fide Prods.’ Albert Berger and partner Ron Yerxa, whose recent credits include Alexander Payne’s similarly themed “Election.”
“It beautifully tells the story of what holds together an American family,” Yerxa said.
In an interview with Daily Variety, Siegel and McGehee praised the book for treating the inner workings of an American family with, as Siegel put it, “beautiful complexity,” adding that the young and previously underachieving girl’s journey to excellence “unexpectedly becomes a spiritual one.”
Pic is based on a script by Naomi Foner (who adapted Seth Margolis’ novel “Losing Isaiah”), with Siegel and McGhee overseeing its revision; Searchlight exec VP of production Claudia Lewis and director of production Josh Deighton will oversee the project.
Duo’s previous film, “The Deep End,” was selected for the dramatic competition at Sundance and picked up for distribution by Fox Searchlight.
They were repped in the deal by ICM.