EXCLUSIVE: Tony Kushner has come aboard to adapt He Wanted The Moon, a memoir by Mimi Baird and Eve Claxton. The project is a co-production between Brad Pitt’s Plan B and Cross Creek Pictures. Pitt bought the book himself last year, and the expectation is he might play Dr. Perry Baird, a Texan Harvard-educated doctor who rose in the field of medicine in the 1920s. He focused on the biochemical root of manic depression at a time when there wasn’t much research on the condition. Unfortunately, he would fall victim to the condition that so fascinated him and by the time the results of his groundbreaking research were published, he had been institutionalized. Cross Creek’s Brian Oliver and Tyler Thompson are producing with Plan B.
Mimi Baird is his daughter, and the story is told through her, observing her father as he was in and out of institutions, lost his medical license, and ultimately was given a lobotomy that killed him. Mimi’s family didn’t say much about her father, and the book allowed her to connect with his tragedy. The book has elements of the John Nash story A Beautiful Mind, with some of The Aviator, where Howard Hughes attempted to realize his ambitions, knowing that his brain was failing him.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Kushner last scripted the Steven Spielberg-directed Lincoln. He’s repped by CAA. Baird is repped by APA and Carol Mann Literary Agency.
Pitt and his Plan B cohorts Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner are smack in the Best Picture race with The Big Short. Cross Creek most recently produced Black Mass and Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, and Everest. The company just wrapped the Doug Liman-directed Mena with Tom Cruise and the Mel Gibson-directed Hacksaw Ridge.