'Zoo' cooped up at Fox

Yorn to produce pic based on moving memoir

Fox has picked up the rights to "We Bought a Zoo," a memoir by Benjamin Mee, for Julie Yorn to produce.

The pickup marks the first project set up by Yorn and her unnamed company since the former Firm exec signed a first-look deal with the studio in January.

"Zoo," published by Weinstein Books in September, tells the true account of how the author and his family used their life savings to buy a dilapidated zoo, replete with 200 exotic animals facing destruction, in the English countryside.

Mee, along with his children, had to balance caring for his wife, who was dying of brain cancer, with dealing with escaped tigers, raising endangered animals, working with an eclectic skeleton crew and readying the zoo for a reopening.

Mee also was the subject of a BBC documentary titled "Ben's Zoo."

Fox is hoping the conjure up the same kind of magic that was woven by "Marley & Me," which cuddled a cute animal story with dramatic elements to great effect. The movie was a surprise hit, grossing $141 million domestically.

No writer is attached to adapt.

Marc Gordon, who worked with Yorn at the Firm, will act as co-producer. John Fox is overseeing for the studio. RWSH repped Mee and the book. (partialdiff)