Mike White Goes Ape for The One and Only Ivan

It was revealed earlier this year that Walt Disney Pictures has secured the rights to Katherine Applegate’s children’s book The One and Only Ivan. Today, Variety reports that School of Rock and Nacho Libre scribe Mike White is in negotiations to direct the big screen adaptation.

Illustrated by Patricia Castelao, the Newberry Medal winning book was published in 2011 and is officially described as follows:

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Allison Shearmur is among the producers on the film version.

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