Academy Award® nominated actress Naomi Watts (THE IMPOSSIBLE, 21 GRAMS) teams with Reese Witherspoon (WILD, WALK THE LINE) and producer Bruna Papandrea to option the film rights to Australia’s #1 best-selling book Penguin Bloom. Watts is also set to star in the film and will produce alongside Witherspoon, Papandrea and Australian producer Emma Cooper.
Set on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Penguin Bloom is the true story of a unique little bird that saves a family. Featuring the deeply personal images of photographer Cameron Bloom and an inspiring narrative by New York Times bestselling author Bradley Trevor Greive (aka BTG) (The Blue Day Book), the story is a reminder that angels can come in all shapes and sizes.
Cameron and Sam Bloom and their three boys were an everyday family until a shocking, near fatal accident left Sam paralyzed. As the family struggled to adjust to her new situation, an unlikely ally entered their lives in the form of an injured Magpie chick. The family dubbed her ‘Penguin.’
Watts 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.”
Witherspoon and Papandrea signed on to produce the moment Cooper sent them the book. “Penguin Bloom affected me in so many ways. Every family will respond to this universal and heartwarming story of a family dealing with tragedy,” says Papandrea.
Sam and Cameron Bloom are incredibly humbled that their deeply personal story has made its way to Hollywood. “Penguin has changed our lives for the better in so many wonderful ways. 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.”
BTG commented that he is thrilled that Penguin Bloom is in the hands of such an extraordinary team of celebrated filmmakers. “After 16 years and 30,000,000 books, to have our book adapted to the silver screen is a first for me. I’m especially happy that Naomi will play Sam. Only an artist with her rare gifts could portray the raw vulnerability and tremendous strength that make her such a remarkable woman.”
Production will take place in Australia. No director or screenwriter are set yet.
Two-time Oscar® nominee Watts will next be seen starring in Colin Trevorrow’s THE BOOK OF HENRY and in Destin Daniel Cretton’s THE GLASS CASTLE with Brie Larson. She also stars in Netflix’s upcoming psychological thriller GYPSY.
Witherspoon and Papandrea have together produced WILD, GONE GIRL and HOT PURSUIT. Future projects in development together include Jessica Knolls’ LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE at Summit/Lionsgate, and ASHLEY’S WAR at Fox 2000.
Penguin Bloom is available in Australia and New Zealand (via ABC Books), 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.
Ten Percent of the book’s royalties will go towards leading spinal cure charities such as Wings for Life and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundations.