EXCLUSIVE: Amazon Studios has acquired rights to Kara Richardson Whitely’s memoir Gorge: My Journey Up Kilimanjaro at 300 Pounds, and is developing it as a movie with This Is Us star Chrissy Metz, who will produce and possibly star.
The producing team also includes PatMa Productions’ Denise Di Novi, Nina Tassler and Margaret French Isaac, along with Luber Roklin Entertainment’s Lena Roklin.
Gorge tells the story of Whitely, a woman determined to reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro who was able to ascend from the depths of self-doubt to the top of the world. She struggled with each step — with the grueling conditions on the steep mountainside, with the 300-pound weight of her own body, and with her food addiction that came from a lifetime of reckoning with feelings of failure and shame. Deep in her personal gorge, Kara realized the only way out was up.
This marks the first producer effort for Metz, who first met Whitley at an event for Metz’s own bestseller, last year’s This Is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today. It was Metz who brought the Gorge project to PatMa. Whitely will executive produce.
Metz, who won a SAG Award for her role of Kate Pearson on NBC’s hit drama This Is Us, also recently starred in 20th Century Fox’s faith-based movie Breakthrough, which grossed more than $50 million at the worldwide box office. Her other TV credits include American Horror Story: Freakshow, The Last OG and Superstore. She is repped by CAA and Luber Roklin.
Tassler and Di Novi set up PatMa at in 2018 with a focus on amplifying diverse voices. The company also is adapting Joyce Carol Oates’ abortion novel A Book of American Martyrs for Showtime; Rules of Magic, based on Alice Hoffmaan’s books, at HBO Max with Melissa Rosenberg as showrunner; and has an adaptation of the Stacey Abrams book Never Tell in development at CBS.
PatMa is repped by Ziffren Brittenham LLP. Whitely is repped by CAA and Wendy Sherman Associates.