Naomi Watts, Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea are to produce the story of Sydney mother Sam Bloom, who was paralysed in a fall from a balcony in 2013, after optioning the film rights to the best selling Australian book Penguin Bloom.
Watts will star in as well as produce the film, with Sydney-based Emma Cooper also producing. The film will be made in Australia.
Penguin Bloom is the story of how Sam and her family deal with her paralysis with the help of an injured Magpie chick, who the family dubbed ‘Penguin.’ New York Times bestselling author Bradley Trevor Greive wrote Penguin Bloom, which features photographs from Sam’s husband, Cameron.
Watts says she was captivated by the life-affirming nature of Sam’s story. “Sam’s undeniable spirit and the intense physical and emotional journey she and her family embraced resonated with me both as a storyteller and as a mother.”
“Penguin Bloom affected me in so many ways. Every family will respond to this universal and heartwarming story of a family dealing with tragedy,” added Papandrea.
No director or screenwriter are yet attached to the project.
Penguin Bloom was published in the UK in October (via Canongate Books) and will be released in the USA and Canada by Atria Books as “Penguin the Magpie” on April 4th, 2017.
“We hope the movie will continue to generate awareness and support for the vital spinal cord injury research via SpinalCure Australia, Wings for Life, The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and other leading charities we are partnering with all around the world,” Caneron and Sam Bloom said in a statement.
Despite closing down their production company Pacific Standard earlier this year Witherpsoon and Papandrea are in development on a number of projects together including include Jessica Knolls’ Luckiest Girl Alive at Summit/Lionsgate, and Ashley’s War at Fox 2000. HBO will release their TV series, Big Little Lies, in April.