In his latest film, The One and Only Ivan, writer Mike White adapts the popular book of the same name that tells the story of a silverback gorilla named Ivan who lived in captivity in mall -- a tale that, while fiction, is based on the real-life gorilla Ivan who lived his life on display at the B&I shopping center in Tacoma, Washington for 27 years. The film, now streaming on Disney+, features an impressive roster of actors taking on both voice and human roles including some who have appeared in the superhero movie space such as Angelina Jolie and Danny DeVito. But when asked if he'd like to write a superhero movie, White said he isn't quite subscribed to that world yet -- but he definitely has an appreciation for it.
Speaking with ComicBook.com, White said that he's afraid to "even touch my toe" into a superhero film, but certainly appreciated that world -- he's just not there yet.
"I feel like the superhero thing is like quicksand, once you're in it you can never get out of it," White said. "I'm afraid to even touch my toe into it 'cause I feel like I'll never get out. I've never done, I can appreciate the superhero world but I'm not a full subscribing member as of yet."
He also explained that he feels like there are a lot of great superhero movies out there as well as revealed that his enjoyment of the genre began all the way back with Christopher Reeve's Superman films.
"Lately there's so many great superhero movies that are coming out now that people are excited about," he continued. "I feel like it started to me with... When I was a kid, I remember getting the Superman, Christopher Reeve movies sent to my camp and I had the video and I was the coolest kid at camp 'cause I got the Superman video and got 'em sent. And I remember Superman II was the one with the three villains and it was like, I was a Superman geek when I was a kid. And now as I've gotten older and the movies have gotten more sophisticated and it's the post-Christopher Nolan era, you realize that they can also be really thematically complex and dark and touch on things that you wouldn't expect from, when you were a kid, what a comic book movie adaptation could be."
While The One and Only Ivan isn't a superhero movie, taking the book it's based on, that has a younger audience, and adapting for screen is something that he approached with a certain complexity as well.0comments
"I read the book and I wasn't really looking to do a kid's adaptation at the time and then I was just kind of struck by how I was shedding some serious man tears throughout the book It's a very touching and actually it speaks to an almost a more adult sensibility in certain ways," White said. "Obviously, it speaks to kids, but it really packs a punch kind of book. And so, I was like... And the message I thought was actually really cool and a kind of a message that I think was like, wow, Disney has a real platform for this animal rights message, I thought that was cool. So, I was like, you know what, I'll try this. But yeah, I think we wanted to stay true to the spirit of the book at the same time, build out the world a little bit, give it more of a plot. There's certain expectations for a movie that the book, it delivers character and emotion, but it needed a little bit more humor plot and just a little bit more propulsion."
The One and Only Ivan is now streaming on Disney+.