The Jim Henson Company has acquired the rights to Stacey O’Brien’s bestselling memoir Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl, with Dolphin Tale co-writer Karen Janszen attached to pen the adaptation.

Stacy O'Brien Personal Archive

Wesley recounts the true story of young Caltech biologist Stacey O’Brien. In 1985, Stacey is asked by her mentor to raise Wesley, a baby barn owl with a wing injury that will prevent it from surviving in the wild. What’s intended to be an objective study of owl behavior blossoms into a unique, hilarious and incredible story of discovery, persistence and love spanning 19 years.

Described as part Marley & Me, part Fly Away Home, Wesley dives inside the one-of-a-kind relationship between “an owl and his girl” and redefines expectations of what it means to love, to survive and, ultimately, to become whole. When O’Brien develops her own life-threatening illness, the biologist who saved the life of a helpless baby bird is herself rescued from death by the insistent love and courage of this wild animal.

Henson CEO & President Lisa Henson (The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance) is producing with Halle Stanford & Sarah Maizes for Henson Co. Andrew Trapani (Winchester) and Mark Hantoot will also produce. Larry Hummel and Tara Kurtz will co-produce the feature/TV project, which is out to filmmakers and cast.

The Jim Henson Company is in production on the feature The Happytime Murders, starring Melissa McCarthy, and the upcoming Netflix original series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Projects in development include the anticipated film Fraggle Rock.

Janszen is an award-winning screenwriter with a penchant for science and animal-centric narratives. Best known for A Dolphin Tale, Duma and A Walk to Remember, Janszen most recently co-created the TV series Mars for NatGeo and Ron Howard/Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment. Janszen is repped by the Gersh Agency.

Trapani is currently producing the remake of An American Werewolf in London for Universal Studios, with Max Landis writing and directing. He most recently produced Winchester (CBS Films/Lionsgate), which opened at No. 3 at the domestic box office in February and stars Oscar winner Helen Mirren. Trapani, whose producing credits also include The Haunting in Connecticut, is repped by attorney Allison Binder of Stone Genow.