The One and Only Ivan (Disney+) Is Inspired by a True Story

Coming to Disney+ on August 14, The One and Only Ivan tells a story about a very special gorilla who lives in captivity in a shopping mall and develops a special talent for painting. Based on a true story — you can learn more about the award-winning book that inspired the film from this NPR article — The One and Only Ivan is a tale about friendship, the power of visualization, and the significance of the place one calls home.

Watch the Trailer With Me

Let me start by saying that I’m not typically a huge fan of movies with animals — especially if they are based on a true story. Why? Because a lot of them are gut wrenchingly sad! And I just can’t…

Wow — what a cast! While I will certainly need tissues for this one, I think I’m willing to give it a go so I can watch this cast at work. Sam Rockwell (JoJo Rabbit, Seven Psychopaths, Galaxy Quest, Iron Man 2), the voice of Ivan the gorilla, is a favorite of mine — so I’m in.

What is The One and Only Ivan About?

An adaptation of the award-winning book about one very special gorilla, Disney’s The One and Only Ivan is an unforgettable tale about the beauty of friendship, the power of visualization and the significance of the place one calls home.

Ivan is a 400-pound silverback gorilla who shares a communal habitat in a suburban shopping mall with Stella the elephant, Bob the dog, and various other animals. He has few memories of the jungle where he was captured, but when a baby elephant named Ruby arrives, it touches something deep within him. Ruby is recently separated from her family in the wild, which causes him to question his life, where he comes from and where he ultimately wants to be. The heartwarming adventure, which comes to the screen in an impressive hybrid of live-action and CGI, is based on Katherine Applegate’s bestselling book, which won numerous awards upon its publication in 2013, including the Newbery Medal.

The One and Only Ivan stars:

  • Sam Rockwell as the voice of Ivan;
  • Angelina Jolie as the voice of Stella;
  • Danny DeVito as the voice of Bob the dog;
  • Helen Mirren as the voice of Snickers the poodle;
  • Brooklynn Prince as the voice of Ruby;
  • Ramon Rodriquez as the mall employee George;
  • Ariana Greenblatt as George’s daughter Julia;
  • Chaka Khan as the voice of Henrietta the chicken;
  • Mike White as the voice of Frankie the seal;
  • Ron Funches as the voice of Murphy the rabbit;
  • Phillipa Soo as the voice of Thelma the parrot;
  • Bryan Cranston as Mack, the mall’s owner.

The One and Only Ivan is directed by Thea Sharrock from a screenplay by Mike White based on Applegate’s book and is produced by the late Allison Shearmur, Angelina Jolie and Brigham Taylor. Sue Baden-Powell and Thea Sharrock serve as executive producers.

The One and Only Ivan debuts exclusively on Disney+ on August 14, 2020.


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