Vulture has learned that Cameron Crowe, who hasn’t directed a film since 2005’s Elizabethtown, is circling a script based on the best-selling Benjamin Mee memoir We Bought a Zoo. Back in 2006, Mee — then the do-it-yourself columnist for the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper — moved into a run-down twelve-bedroom mansion in the southwest English countryside with his wife, two children, brother, and 76-year-old mother. The catch? Their old manse also included the 30-acre Dartmoor Wildlife Park, a dilapidated preserve that was home to 200 wild animals. Poignantly, the Mee family’s successful efforts at rehabilitating the zoo’s menagerie of ailing beasts was juxtaposed with the steady decline of Mee’s wife, Katherine, who received a terminal-cancer diagnosis.
From what we hear, Zoo already had a great script from Oscar-nominated Devil Wears Prada screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna. But if he signs on, Crowe will be doing a little rewriting before directing it, presumably to insert dialogue that zookeepers will repeat for the rest of their lives, much as any high-school student from the late eighties continues to quote “I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen.”