Alcon taps writer for 'Dolphin's Tale' film

Charles Martin Smith also will helm pic inspired by true story

Going from inspirational sports stories like "The Blind Side" to inspirational animal stories, Warner Bros.-based Alcon Entertainment is tapping Charles Martin Smith to write and direct "A Dolphin's Tale."

"Dolphin" is inspired by the true story of a dolphin named Winter who was rescued off the Florida coast and taken in by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

The movie version centers on a boy who befriends an injured dolphin who lost her tail in a crab trap. Through their bond and friendship, the boy motivates everyone around him to help save the dolphin by creating a prosthetic appendage to replace the dolphin's tail. The marine mammal's strong survival instincts become an inspiration to people with special needs throughout the world.

Alcon, run by co-founders and co-CEOs Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson, will finance and co-produce with Alcon marketing president Richard Ingber.

Ingber saw the story on NBC's "Today" and tracked down the rights, which were shared by the aquarium and its employee David Yates. Ingber then partnered with Noam Dromi to write a treatment, taking the document to the Alcon principals, who sparked to the tale.

Alcon's Steve Wegner developed the take that Smith will write.

APA-repped Smith has experience in the animal-young actor world, having directed the first "Air Bud" movie in 1997. The longtime actor most recently directed "The Stone of Destiny," starring Robert Carlyle and Kate Mara, which garnered praise on the festival circuit.

Since its release Nov. 20, Alcon's "Blind Side" has scored more than $130 million, helping rejuvenate Sandra Bullock's career and jolting Alcon, which finances the movies it produces. The company's next release is the Denzel Washington actioner "The Book of Eli."