In her Newbery Medal Award acceptance speech on June 30, 2013, Katherine Applegate explained how reading in a newspaper’s small article about a gorilla in a shopping mall caught her attention years ago. The report said that a gorilla named Ivan was an attraction for more than twenty years to the mall visitors at Tacoma City, Washington State. Then the company had to release him to the Atlanta Zoo due to the many letters and complaints from the shoppers.
In a few months Katherine did some research about Ivan’s place of origin and how he was brought to the US. She also interviewed many people that witnessed how lonely and desolate Ivan was in his cage. Then she combined all of this information with her imagination and voila… a beautiful and inspirational story was underway to touch millions around the world. That’s the beauty of storytelling.
Something that Katherine didn’t know at the moment of receiving this award was that a few years later Disney would approach her with a proposal to make an animated film based on her book. Now, the movie is going to be out soon.
The One and Only Ivan movie is directed by Thea Sharrock, from a screenplay written by Mike White. Sam Rockwell stars as the voice of the titular Ivan, with Angelina Jolie, Danny DeVito, Helen Mirren, Brooklynn Prince, Ramón Rodríguez, Ariana Greenblatt and Bryan Cranston also starring.
The One and Only Ivan is set to be released on Disney+ on August 21, 2020.