EXCLUSIVE: Monarch Media, Point Grey Pictures, Lylas Pictures and Giant Ant are teaming to produce an animated feature based on Sarah Leavitt’s acclaimed memoir, Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer’s, My Mother and Me.
The synopsis for Leavitt’s 2010 graphic novel: When Alzheimer’s disease begins to strip away her mother’s vibrant personality, a headstrong young woman is forced to return to her oddball family in the conservative small town she recently fled in order to care for her. She quickly realizes she must accept the cruel and warped reality of the disease – and the imperfect beauty of her family – in order to become the daughter they need.
The Tangles film will be directed by Giant Ant principal Leah Nelson. Vicky Patel, Steve Barnett and Alan Powell will produce through Monarch Media, along with Seth Rogen through Point Grey Pictures and Lauren Miller Rogen through Lylas Pictures.
UTA Independent Film Group and CAA are co-repping domestic rights.
Patel, Rogen and Miller Rogen are longtime Alzheimer’s activists, having been affected by the disease in very personal ways. Patel’s late father was diagnosed with the disease in 2003, inspiring her to become one of the nation’s leading fundraisers for brain science research. She was honored this year with the Alzheimer’s Foundation’s Jerome H. Stone Philanthropy Award — one of the organization’s highest honors. Miller Rogen lost her grandmother, grandfather and mother to the disease. After her mother was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s at age 55, Miller Rogen and her husband founded the nonprofit organization Hilarity for Charity, to get more young people involved in raising awareness and educating others about living a brain-healthy life. Hilarity for Charity has raised more than $18 million to date, in support of family caregivers, brain health education and prevention research.
“I’m overjoyed at the opportunity to make this unique and special film,” said Nelson. “When I read the graphic novel, I was blown away by Sarah Leavitt’s ability to tell her story with such honesty and bold creativity and I knew it needed to be brought to life on screen. I have been so fortunate to work with the teams at Point Grey and LYLAS Pictures who have devoted so much time, care and attention to this project and have wholeheartedly supported my creative vision. With Monarch Media now backing the project, we have a team of people who are not only committed to world-class storytelling, but to ensuring we do justice to this remarkable story.”
“I’m incredibly excited to see this project go into production. Working with Giant Ant, Point Grey and LYLAS Pictures on the adaptation has been such a wonderful, collegial process,” said Leavitt. “I’m honored by the careful thought and attention that everyone involved has brought to this story that’s so personal to me. I’m especially moved by how deeply Leah has come to understand this story, and how closely we’ve worked together over the years.”
“When we founded Monarch Media two years ago, it was exactly with this kind of project in mind,” added Patel. “To be able to address a topic that’s so personal to me, to be able to bring this amazing novel to life so that others can enjoy and learn from it and to do so with such wonderful partners in Lauren, Seth and Leah, is incredibly fulfilling.”
Giant Ant is an Emmy-winning animation studio based in Vancouver. Co-founded by Nelson, it’s known for working with a global list of clients, including Apple, Cartoon Network, Airbnb & Warner Brothers, crafting a wide range of work across entertainment and advertising.
Monarch’s principals Barnett, Powell and Patel partnered to launch the film and television production company in 2020. The trio are currently in post-production on Something Here, a musical previously known as the Untitled Florida Georgia Line Project, and are prepping to shoot the Barnett-directed thriller Valiant One, starring Chase Stokes and Lana Condor, as well as Road to Bethlehem, which will be directed by The Prom‘s producer and executive music producer, Adam Anders. Previous credits include the Netflix feature A Week Away.
Point Grey Pictures is a production company, which Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg launched in 2011. The company behind Prime Video’s Emmy-nominated series The Boys is currently in production on the spin-off Gen V, set at America’s only college for young superheroes, as well as the CG remake of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Paramount and Nickelodeon. It’s currently in post-production on two films for Lionsgate: the horror-thriller Cobweb and Adele Lim’s (Crazy Rich Asians) as-yet-untitled directorial debut, starring Ashley Park, Sherry Cola and Stephanie Hsu. It will also be producing an untitled series directed by Jason Woliner for Peacock, as part of its overall deal with Lionsgate.
Founded by filmmaker Miller Rogen and producer and manager Jen Ray to tell female-driven stories, Lylas’ credits include Focus Features’ For a Good Time, Call… and Netflix’s original film Like Father, which was written and directed by Miller Rogen. The company is currently developing a slate of features and television shows with partners including Buzzfeed, Point Grey Pictures, Elevate Entertainment and Desert Whale Productions, having also developed projects with Hello Sunshine, Lionsgate, The CW, The Tannenbaum Company and Temple Hill.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.