When The One And Only Ivan was released to bookstores in 2013, it found scores of young adult fans and won the prestigious Newbury Medal for being, as the awards committee says, “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” Thus, when Disney decided it was going to adapt the book into a movie (now available on Disney+), the company knew it had to bring in the big screenwriting guns.
Enter Mike White, who created the beloved series Enlightened and has written screenplays for family-friendly films like Nacho Libre and School Of Rock. White immersed himself in the world that author K.A. Applegate created and added, as he told The A.V. Club, “a motor” to bring the book to the scene. We talked to White about that project, as well as about his role as the film’s sea lion in the clip above.