Free Association has teamed with Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf’s Big Beach to option Zack McDermott’s book Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother’s Love, for TV series development. Demolition scribe Bryan Sipe is attached to pen the adaptation and executive produce.
The memoir, released today (Sept. 26) by Little Brown Publishing Company, chronicles McDermott’s personal battle with bipolar disorder, which affects nearly 6 million Americans and usually presents itself in patients during their mid-twenties, the same age that it affected McDermott.
According to the description, Gorilla and the Bird follows Zack’s (the Gorilla) fight to regain his sanity after a devastating psychotic break, with the help of the only person who didn’t give up on him, his mother (The Bird). This inspirational mother, who had her own challenges of overcoming domestic abuse and poverty to raise three children on her own, stuck by him and helped him recover as he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Zack’s sudden illness took him on a harrowing journey including delusions of being filmed and receiving messages through the TV, running naked through cornfields, seeing the Virgin Mary, being arrested on a subway platform and being committed to the Bellevue Hospital. Prior to his illness, Zack had a job as a highly successful public defender for The Legal Aid Society of New York.
The series will tell the story of McDermott and his mother’s heartbreaking yet inspiring battle.
Tatum, Reid Carolin, Peter Kiernan and Andrew Schneider will Executive Produce for Free Association with Schneider overseeing the project for the company. Marc Turtletaub, Peter Saraf and Robin Schwartz will Executive Produce for Big Beach. McDermott will serve as Co-Executive Producer.
Free Association, which is behind the 22 Jump Street and Magic Mike franchises, most recently produced feature Logan Lucky and the Amazon series Comrade Detective. The company is repped by UTA, Management 360 and Hansen, Jacobson & Teller.
Big Beach’s (Little Miss Sunshine) most recent films include Three Generations, starring Naomi Watts, Elle Fanning and Susan Sarandon, and Loving, directed by Jeff Nichols. The recently formed television arm of the company, headed by Schwartz, is currently in production on new series Vida, created by Tanya Saracho, for Starz.
Read the Deadline article here.