Actors Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal are teaming up to develop and produce the feature adaptation of Suzanne Simard’s just-published memoir, Finding the Mother Tree.
According to Deadline, Adams will back the film via her Bond Group Entertainment and Gyllenhaal through his Nine Stories. Their banners won the rights to the book in competitive bidding.
“The forest has taught me that our relationships — with each other and with the trees, plants, and animals around us — are what make our lives beautiful, strong, and healthy. I’m thrilled to be partnering with the visionaries at Nine Stories and the Bond Group to bring this story to the screen and share it with people everywhere,” Simard said.
In addition to serving as producer, Adams will play Simard, a world-renowned scientist and ecologist who first discovered how trees communicate underground through an immense web of fungi.
Simard’s work has been praised as having “planetary significance” and forever changing the way people look at trees. It has inspired authors and filmmakers alike, from the Tree of Souls in James Cameron’s Avatar to the main character in Richard Powers’ novel Overstory.
In the memoir, which was released by Knopf on Tuesday, Simard writes of her own unique journey as a mother, a former logger, and an iconoclastic scientist and reveals how trees, living side-by-side for hundreds of years, evolve and communicate.
At the centre of it all are Mother Trees: mysterious, powerful forces that connect and sustain all the life that surrounds them. While her revolutionary findings were initially dismissed and even ridiculed, they are now firmly supported by research and data.
Stacy O’Neil is also on board as producer for Bond Group Entertainment, so is Riva Marker for Nine Stories. Noah Stahl of Nine Stories and Kate Clifford of Bond Group Entertainment will oversee the project for their respective shingles.
Gyllenhaal and Marker of Nine Stories said Finding the Mother Tree is a rare and moving book — part charming memoir, part crash course in forest ecology.
“And yet, it manages to be about the things that matter most: the ways we care for each other, fail each other and listen to each other. After the last year and a half, its lessons about motherhood, connection and the natural world are more timely than ever, and we are thrilled to partner with Amy, Stacy and their company, and Suzanne Simard to adapt this majestic story to film,” they said.
Adams and O’Neil said Simard’s novel is a source of inspiration. “Creatively, it excited us with a narrative about the awe-invoking power of nature and the compelling parallels in Suzanne’s personal life. It forever transformed our views of the world and the interconnectivity of our environment.
“Finding the Mother Tree is not only a deeply beautiful memoir about one woman’s impactful life, it’s also a call to action to protect, understand and connect with the natural world. We’re thrilled to partner with Jake & Riva to bring Suzanne’s important life story to screen and expand the reach of her groundbreaking work,” the producers for Bond Group Entertainment added.
Adams and Gyllenhaal previously co-starred in the 2016 American neo-noir psychological thriller Nocturnal Animals.