The studio adapted Palacio’s popular book “Wonder” into a 2017 feature film starring Jacob Tremblay, Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts. “Wonder” was an impressive performer at the box office with $330 million worldwide.
“White Bird” centers on a young Jewish girl hidden away by a boy and his family in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. Recounted by Grandmere to her grandson, Julian (a character first introduced to audiences in “Wonder”), the story demonstrates the power of kindness to change hearts, build bridges and even save lives.
Forster’s directing credits include “Neverland,” which was nominated for a best picture Academy Award; “Christopher Robin”; “World War Z”; “Quantum of Solace”; “The Kite Runner”; and “Stranger Than Fiction.” He will direct “White Bird” from a screenplay by Mark Bomback (“The Art of Racing in the Rain,” “War for the Planet of the Apes”).
Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman, who produced “Wonder,” are also producing the new film, along with Palacio. Renée Wolfe will be coming on board as an executive producer. Alex Young will also serve as an executive producer.
The news about Forster’s hiring was announced by Lionsgate’s Nathan Kahane, president of the motion group, who said, “’Wonder’ connected with audiences who responded to its message of kindness and empathy, of looking past the surface to the person underneath. Now more than ever, we need stories that champion compassion for others, and R.J. Palacio’s graphic novel ‘White Bird’ builds on those themes. To direct the adaptation, Marc Forster brings not only mastery of his craft but a tender heart and gentle vision for a story of people finding connections between each other even in the most trying situations.”
James Myers and Aaron Edmonds are overseeing the project on behalf of the studio. Bonnie Stylides negotiated the deal on behalf of Lionsgate.