Sony Pictures and Chinese production company Tencent have landed rights to “Finding Gobi,” a touching memoir about a stray dog who befriends a runner, and plan to adapt it as a feature film.
20th Century Fox originally optioned the book in 2017, but the project was abandoned when Disney acquired Fox’s film assets two years later.
“Finding Gobi” was written by Dion Leonard, a seasoned ultra-marathon runner who crossed paths with an abandoned dog while competing in a 155-mile race through the Gobi Desert in China. In something of a heroic feat, the small pup — later named Gobi — stuck around and kept pace with Leonard across mountains and sand dunes for 77 miles.
Gobi later went missing, but with the help of strangers and an outpouring of internet assistance, Leonard was able to track her down and reunite with the dog that changed his life.
Terry George, who previously directed “Hotel Rwanda,” is helming the film and writing the screenplay. Hutch Parker (“Venom”) is producing the film with Paul de Souza (“Submerged”).
“I’m so excited to hear that Gobi’s true and inspiring story is going to be adapted for the big screen,” Leonard said. “To see Gobi come from the desert to Hollywood is super awesome. I’m over the moon!”
20th Century Fox had preemptively acquired the film rights to the book, titled “Finding Gobi: A Little Dog With a Very Big Heart,” before it was published in 2017. Upon its release, it became a New York Times and international bestseller.
Leonard wrote a subsequent novel “Lara the Runaway Cat,” centered on Gobi’s (fictional) mischievous feline sister. Lara, understandably, gets jealous of Gobi’s internet fame and global attention. But she will not be ignored! So she runs away from her family, seeking adventure and a different life to make a name for herself. No word yet on whether or not Lara will ever get the feature film treatment.