Indie production company Paper Pictures is putting together a new biopic entitled Seuss, following the life of writer Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss. Filmmaker Stephen Chbosky (Wonder) has been set to direct this biopic, with Eyal Podell and Jonathan Stewart writing the script. Producer Carla Hacken’s Paper Pictures currently has the project out to actors and financiers at this time, although no production schedule or release date has been given quite yet.
The script will follow a young Theodor Geisel in the 1920s, as he struggles to find his voice as a writer, before meeting the woman who would become his muse and future wife, Helen Palmer. More than 30 years later, when she fell ill, it ultimately inspired him to create perhaps his most well-known work, The Cat in the Hat. Dr. Seuss would ultimately go on to write more than 60 childrens books throughout his storied career, selling over 600 million copies with his books translated into over 20 languages at the time of his death in 1991, at the age of 87.
Geisel picked up the pen name Dr. Seuss while attending Dartmouth College in the early 1920s. Geisel was caught drinking gin with friends in his dorm room, which was during the Prohibition Era. This lead to Geisel being suspended from all his extracurricular activities, including writing for the humor magazine Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern. He continued writing for the Jack-O-Lantern without the administration’s knowledge, by using the pen name Seuss. After graduating from Dartmouth in 1925, he went to Oxford in the U.K., where he first met Helen Palmer, and they ultimately got married in 1927.
While he never got a degree at Oxford, returning to the United States, he found work as a writer and illustrator for the humor magazine Judge, and he made a good living supporting himself and his wife during the Great Depression by drawing ads for General Electric, NBC, Standard Oil, Narragansett Brewing Company and more. Dr. Seuss published his first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, in 1937, but during World War II, he started drawing political cartoons before working for the U.S. Government to directly support the war effort, designing posters and then making Army propaganda films and training films. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his work, and his film Our Job in Japan became the basis for the commercial film Design for Death (1947), which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. After the war, Seuss and Helen moved to La Jolla, California, where he wrote some of his most iconic books such as If I Ran the Zoo (1950), Horton Hears a Who! (1955), If I Ran the Circus (1956), The Cat in the Hat (1957), How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1957), and Green Eggs and Ham (1960).
Stephen Chbosky is coming off his hit Lionsgate drama Wonder, which became one of the most unsung box office hits of 2017, earning $131.3 million domestic and $285.9 million worldwide, from a modest, yet undisclosed, production budget. He also helped write the script for Disney’s blockbuster Beauty and the Beast, and he is currently set to write and direct Disney’s Prince Charming. Deadline broke the news regarding Stephen Chbosky’s involvement in Seuss earlier today.