The book was written in 2005 by Higashida, who was 13 at the time, and published in Japan in 2007. The English translation was published in 2013. Higashida wrote the book to help communicate his own needs and thoughts to his family, and shine a light for other autistic individuals around the world. Most of the memoir is told through 58 questions Higashida and other people dealing with autism are commonly asked.
The film is presented by Vulcan Productions, the British Film Institute, the Idea Room, MetFilm Production, and Runaway Fridge. The producers include Stevie Lee, Jeremy Dear, and Al Morrow. Allen is an executive producer along with Carole Tomko, Jannat Gargi, and Rocky Collins.
The film, announced on Wednesday, is in production and part of a larger effort from Vulcan Productions to spotlight various issues, including uncovering the mysteries of the human brain. Allen is the founder of the Allen Institute for Brain Science and has contributed more than $500 million to the organization.
“Naoki’s book transformed my understanding of autism and I hope we can translate it onto the screen with as much simplicity, elegance, and power as in his writing,” Rothwell said.
Rothwell’s credits include “How to Change the World,” “Town of Runners,” “Donor Unknown,” “Heavy Load,” and “Deep Water.” Vulcan’s credits include “Body Team 12,” which was nominated for an Oscar in the documentary short category, “We the Economy,” “Ocean Warriors,” and “Girl Rising.” Their upcoming releases are “Ghost Fleet” and “Oliver Sacks.”