'Christian the Lion' Snags Up-and-Coming Scribe (Exclusive)

"Christian the Lion" YouTube video

Neal Mortiz is producing the Sony movie project via his Original Films banner.

J. Mills Goodloe has been brought on board to write Christian the Lion, Sony and Neal Moritz’s adaptation about the feline and its two owners who became a YouTube sensation.

Lion is the true story that began when two friends, John Rendall and Anthony "Ace" Bourke, bought a lion cub from Harrods and raised it in their antique shop on King's Road in swinging 60's London. Seeking to do right by the cub, they eventually contacted famed conservationist George Adamson and went about the process of rehabilitating the lion into the wild in Kenya. Many months after the rehabilitation was complete, the two men went back to Kenya to see the lion one more time. 

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Sony picked up the project in 2008 when it became an Internet phenomenon, after footage from a 1971 documentary showing the reunion between the men and lion was set to Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You, sending over 14 million viewers reaching for a tissue to wipe their tears.

Moritz will produce the project via his Original Film banner.

Elizabeth Cantillon is overseeing for Sony, and Tania Landau is heading the project for Original.

Piers Ashworth and Nick Moorcroft wrote a previous draft, but Goodloe is overhauling the script.

The up-and-coming scribe is poised for a big next year. He most recently wrote The Age of Adaline for Lionsgate, a drama to which Blake Lively just signed on and is in preproduction.

And his adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel The Best of Me for Relativity, slated to begin production in March 2014, with Michael Hoffman directing. 

Additionally, Goodloe wrote a draft adapting Charles Martin’s novel The Mountain Between Us for Fox 2000, which is entering the casting stage.

He is repped by UTA and Management 360.