September 10, 2008 / 4:56 AM / 11 years ago

Fox joins circus with bestseller "Elephants"

TORONTO (Hollywood Reporter) - Fox 2000 has won the battle for rights to “Water for Elephants,” Sara Gruen’s best-selling Depression-era love story.

The book centers on a 90-year-old man reminiscing about his time at a B-level circus taking care of the animals. He sees the brutality of circus life while falling for the wife of an abusive animal trainer.

The book spent 12 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list in 2006 and hit the list again last year when it was released in paperback. More than 2 million paperbacks have been sold, according to the studio.

Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend”) is attached to direct from an adaptation by and Richard LaGravenese (“P.S. I Love You”).

Fox beat out Warner Bros., Universal and Paramount for the project. The studio is fast-tracking the project, but Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler acknowledged the translation may face some challenges because of the nature of the story.

“We want to make this with a responsible budget. It is a risky piece of material but there is a lot going for it. It’s inspirational and it packs a lot of punch. And it’ll attract a lot of talented people.”

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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