The story of the famous house in Seattle that caused a media sensation due to its similarities to Pixar’s Up is getting the movie treatment.
Fox Searchlight, the high-minded movie arm of Fox, has picked up an untitled project from John Whittington with the owner of the house at the center.
Will Gluck, the filmmaker behind Emma Stone‘s breakout Easy A and, more recently, Annie, is on board to produce the drama along with Jodi Hildebrand, his partner at Olive Bridge Entertainment. Gluck is not attached to direct at this stage.
Also part of the deal is the 2013 memoir Under One Roof by Barry Martin.
The small farmhouse stood in Seattle perfectly fine for about 100 years as the city grew around it, until in 2006 when a big commercial development encroached on it, buying all the homes in the neighborhood except the one holdout.
The home’s owner, an elderly woman named Edith Macefield, stood her ground and turned down a reported offer of $1 million from developers, becoming a local hero.
Amazingly, Macefield struck up a deep friendship with the superintendent of the five-story construction project, Martin, who would check in on the old lady daily, even as the mall was slowly built around her home.
When Macefield died in 2008, she willed the house to Martin, the man supervising the building project that was trying to kick her out.
The feature project, intended to be a comedic drama, will tell the story of Macefield and her unlikely relationship with Martin, how each changed the other’s life, and how living a life with dignity is a basic human need.
The building became known as the Up house due to visual similarities as well as similarities between Macefield and Carl Fredricksen, the elderly character from the movie who refused to move as “progress” rolled in. But while fans tied balloons to the house, mimicking the movie, Pixar has denied that Up, released in 2009 and in the works by 2004, was inspired by the story of the house.
The house, now owned by a nonprofit, is trying to stave off threats of demolition by being moved to the nearby Orcas Island. There is a fundraising campaign underway to help finance the move. (Check it out here.)
Whittington is currently staffed on Netflix’s and Warner Bros. TV’s Green Eggs and Ham, being developed by Ellen DeGeneres and Jared Stern, but earlier this year created buzz in lit circles with his script True Fan, the story of Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman. He is repped by Verve, MXN and attorney Jeff Frankel.
Martin and the book are repped by ICM Partners.
Gluck is repped by UTA and Sloane Offer.