Warners fishes out real-life 'Whales' saga spec


Warner Bros. has picked up "Everybody Loves Whales," a spec based on a true story from "Shaggy Dog" scribes Jack Amiel and Michael Begler.

Steve Golin and Michael Sugar are producing for Anonymous Content.

The script tells the story of three California gray whales who were found trapped under the ice of the Arctic Circle in October 1988. The subsequent rescue attempt became a global event as scores of journalists converged on the nearby Eskimo town of Barrow, Alaska, and the U.S. and Soviet governments enjoyed a rare moment of collaboration.

The two-week drama played out at a time of geopolitical change, with Mikhail Gorbachev in the midst of his glasnost initiative and Ronald Reagan preparing to leave office after his second term. In addition to the rescue attempt, Amiel and Begler's script centers on a love story between a nonprofit aid worker and a journalist.

The project is said to be a high priority for Warners, which hopes to turn it into a big family film. Environmental stories and causes are close to the heart of Warners topper Alan Horn, who sits on the board of the National Resources Defense Council. Jon Berg and Jesse Ehrman are overseeing for the studio.

The WMA- and Anonymous-repped Amiel and Begler have penned a slew of studio family films; in addition to "Dog," they wrote the Garry Marshall dramedy "Raising Helen" and are developing "Wedding Banned." (partialdiff)