In The One and Only Ivan, a gorilla paints a picture of what freedom looks like to him.
The trailer for the film, which takes inspiration from Katherine Applegate’s award-winning 2012 children’s book, dropped Wednesday. The sneak peek focuses on the titular Silverback ape’s place in a small-town circus run by his adopter, Mack (Bryan Cranston). Ivan, voiced by Sam Rockwell, stars as the circus’ main attraction, baring his teeth and giving the local audience a good scare. But when the gig gets old, the gorilla questions his purpose.
“Why do they want an angry gorilla anyway,” asks Ivan.
“You’re a Silverback, you terrify humans,” says Bob, a scruffy canine voiced by Danny DeVito.
Ivan’s time at the local circus becomes even more complicated when a young elephant asks him about his past, making the gorilla yearn for the sister and the childhood in the jungle that he can’t remember.
“Memories never leave us, they just get out of reach,” Stella, a wise elephant voiced by Angelina Jolie, reassures Ivan.
Inspired by his homesickness, Ivan takes up a new hobby, letting Mack and the other circus animals see a new side of him. Picking up crayons and dipping his hands in paint, the Silverback revisits his buried-away love for art to express his desire to be free.
Over a moving score, Ivan and his crew run through the small town and embark on a quest for the Silverback’s liberation. Even though surrounded by his circus friends, Ivan worries about leaving Mack behind.
“We’re family,” says the ringmaster. “We’re in this together.”
Initially set to hit theaters, the Thea Sharrock-directed project will join the growing number of summer films bypassing the big screen and heading directly to streaming amid the coronavirus pandemic. The One and Only Ivan, which also stars Helen Mirren, Chaka Khan, Brooklynn Prince and Phillipa Soo, comes to Disney+ on Aug. 14.
Watch the trailer below.