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Disney Branded TV Adapting Out of My Mind


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The best-selling novel Out of My Mind, written by author and professional educator Sharon M. Draper, is set to be adapted by Disney Branded Television, Big Beach, Participant and EveryWhere Studios for Disney+.

Out of My Mind tells the story of 12-year-old Melody Brooks, who has cerebral palsy and is not given the same academic opportunities as her classmates until a young educator notices her untapped potential. Phoebe-Rae Taylor will star in the lead role.

Amber Sealey (No Man of God, How Does It Start) is set to direct from an adapted screenplay written by Daniel Stiepleman (On the Basis of Sex). The production team includes multiple people from the cerebral palsy and AAC (augmentative and alternative communication device) community.

Academy Award nominee Peter Saraf (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, The Farewell, Little Miss Sunshine) is producing along with Dan Angel (Rescued by Ruby, Door to Door, Goosebumps) and Participant (Wonder). Big Beach’s Michael B. Clark and Alex Turtletaub; Participant’s founder Jeff Skoll and Robert Kessel; Tom Mazza; David Calver Jones; and Brian Gott will executive produce.

“There’s a sense of exhilaration here as we embark with this very well-regarded creative team in adapting Sharon Draper’s candid, beautiful and powerful book that tells a universally relatable story about both following your dreams and having an impact in this world,” said Ayo Davis, president of Disney Branded Television. “It’s also a wonderful opportunity for us to center the lived experiences of people with disabilities.”

“I’m thrilled to tell this sophisticated, coming-of-age story that is unlike any we’ve seen before and to have such wonderful collaborators in Peter Saraf, Participant, Big Beach, Daniel Stiepleman and Disney,” Sealey said. “In Phoebe-Rae Taylor, we have found an amazing actress, and I can’t wait for the world to meet her. My hope is that Out of My Mind will be an important part of disability awareness and inclusion and will expand the conversation surrounding diversity and disability.”

Out of My Mind advances Participant’s mission of reaching audiences with incredible stories that celebrate difference and challenge preconceived notions about ability,” said Robert Kessel, executive VP of narrative film at Participant. “We are thrilled to work with Disney and the outstanding creative team to bring this story to life.”

Saraf said, “Bringing a story that has been beloved by millions who’ve read the book to the screen is such an incredible opportunity. We get to make something that hasn’t been seen before—a coming-of-age story about a sixth grader who is non-verbal and uses a wheelchair and who will be played by a wonderful actress with cerebral palsy.”






About Jamie Stalcup

Jamie Stalcup is the associate editor of World Screen. She can be reached at jstalcup@worldscreen.com.

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