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Dion Leonard’s Memoir About Stray Dog to Get Movie Adaptation at Fox (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 3/13/2017 Dave McNary
© Provided by Variety

Twentieth Century Fox Film is developing a movie based on Dion Leonard’s upcoming memoir, “Finding Gobi,” about a stray dog he met while competing in an ultramarathon in China.

The studio has preemptively acquired the film rights to the book, which will be published worldwide in June by W Publishing Group through the Nashville division of HarperCollins.

Leonard, a seasoned ultramarathon runner, crossed paths with a scrappy dog while competing in a 155-mile race through China’s Gobi Desert. The small, young dog, later named Gobi, went step for step with him for nearly 80 miles over the treacherous Tian Shan mountains, across massive sand dunes, through yurt villages, and the black sands of the Gobi Desert.

Gobi later went missing, but with the help of strangers and a viral outpouring of assistance on the internet, Leonard was able to reunite with the dog.

Paul de Souza, who discovered the story after it became a viral internet sensation, is producing and shepherding the project. He brought the project to HarperCollins and negotiated the book deal with the aim of setting up the movie at Fox, inspired by the success of the synergy between HarperCollins and the studio on such films as “Hidden Figures.”

Kira Goldberg is overseeing the project for Fox. Studio executive Drew Reed was instrumental in bringing the film to Fox. Attorney Jay Kramer negotiated the deal.

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