Brad Pitt and his production company Plan B is teaming up with prize-winning writer Tony Kushner to adapt the memoir about Dr. Perry Baird written by his daughter, Mimi Baird, and Eve Claxton.
Mimi Baird wrote the memoir – the full title of which is He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird and His Daughter’s Quest to Know Him – about her father, Dr. Perry Baird, a Texan Harvard-educated doctor who was ravaged by mental depression.
Dr. Baird suffered through the brutal institutional treatments of the 30s and 40s. During that time, mental treatment was far less-enlightened than it is today and so-called “cures” at the time involved everything from straight jackets to lobotomies.
— Nyna Giles (@nynagiles) February 26, 2016
Mimi Baird later discovered a manuscript written by her father while he was committed. The manuscript outlined his attempts to escape the mental institute, his divorce and his general fall from grace in the medical community. His mental illness eventually lost him his medical license and ultimately her father was killed by a lobotomy procedure.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Mimi Baird then pieced together the various and heartbreaking circumstances that happened decades earlier, when her father left the family when she was just 6-years-old and the rest of her family refused to talk to her about him. She gained insight from various interviews with family members and with her father’s former colleagues.
In the memoir He Wanted the Moon, Baird recalls how she attempted to get her father the overdue credit she felt he deserved from the scientific community, while he was also trying to give a voice to others suffering from mental illness.
In their report, Deadline describes the book as having elements of the John Nash story A Beautiful Mind, along with a little of The Aviator – the story of how Howard Hughes attempted to realize his ambitions, all the while knowing his brain was failing him.
Brad Pitt’s company Plan B is joining up with Cross Creek Pictures to produce an adaptation of He Wanted the Moon for the big screen.
— Penguin Random House (@penguinrandom) February 19, 2016
Brad Pitt reportedly bought the book himself last year and was fascinated by the story of how Perry Baird focused on the biochemical root of manic depression during a time when there wasn’t much research being done about the condition.
The story of how Dr. Baird fell victim to the very condition that fascinated him so much was a tragic one. Reportedly, by the time his groundbreaking research was finally published, Dr. Baird had been institutionalized himself, causing him to totally lose credibility with his peers.
Pitt is now expected to play the role of Dr. Perry Baird in the upcoming film and Cross Creek’s Brian Oliver and Tyler Thompson will be producing it with Plan B.
Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who was involved in the Stephen Spielberg films Lincoln and Munich is working on adapting the book to a feature film.
— GalleyCat (@GalleyCat) February 19, 2016
Pitt tends to follow through and make a success with stories that touch his sensibilities. It was Brad Pitt’s Plan B that produced the recent Oscar-nominated film The Big Short, which outlined the rise of the financial crisis back in 2008. The critically acclaimed film starred Brad Pitt along with Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Steve Carell and Finn Wittrock.
Tony Kushner’s latest screenplay was that of the 2012 film Lincoln, starring Daniel Day Lewis and directed by Steven Spielberg.
[Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]