MGM to Bring George Saunders' 'Very Persistent Gappers of Frip' to Big-Screen (Exclusive)

The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip Cover - P 2015
<p>The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip Cover - P 2015</p>   |   Courtesy of McSweeney's
Saunders will produce the adaptation.

MGM has acquired the rights to The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, a children’s book by George Saunders, one of the preeminent short story authors of the 21st century literary scene.

Illustrated by the illustrious Lane Smith, Frip is a seaside fable telling the story of a little girl named Capable and her plight to fight off a daily invasion of Gappers, bright orange, multi-eyed creatures that love goats so much that they attach themselves to them and prevent them from giving milk.

When the Gappers target Capable’s goats, her town’s only two neighboring families (it’s a small town) turn their backs on Capable and her widowed father, leaving the heroine to fend for herself against the pesky creatures. In trying to save herself, she goes on a journey of discovery, learning invaluable lessons about community and compassion.

Saunders will produce the adaptation. 

The deal marks the latest foray into MGM’s growing interest in family fare. This summer, the studio has the canine feature Max (with Warner Bros.) and is developing projects such as Taking Flight, the story of Sierra Leone war orphan-turned-ballerina Michaela DePrince, as well as reboots of Pink Panther and Addams Family.

Saunders is a prolific writer whose short stories and essays have appeared in publications ranging from The New Yorker to McSweeney's. In spite of the extensive acclaim he's earned, Saunders has tended to fly under Hollywood's radar for the most part. 

Saunders has received MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships, won the inaugural Folio Prize in 2013 for the best work of fiction in English and the Story Prize for best short story collection. The man has also made the cover of the New York Times Magazine, appeared on shows such as The Colbert Report and Late Night with David Letterman and was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people in 2013. Among his notable works are Tenth of December and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline. The latter has been optioned by Ben Stiller's Red Hour Films.

For Frit, published in 2000, Saunders teamed up with Smith, an acclaimed artist who received the Society of Illustrators Lifetime Achievement award in 2014. Smith has won several Caldecott honors and is known for such works as The Stinky Cheese Man and Grandpa Green. He illustrated an edition of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach and was a film designer on Disney’s 1996 adaptation of the book.

Saunders is repped by ICM Partners.