TORONTO — Esther the Wonder Pig is going from rolling around in mud to rolling out the red carpet.
The owners of the Ontario-based social media sensation say they’ve signed a deal with a major Hollywood production company and a studio to adapt their Esther books for a feature film.
Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter announced on Esther’s social media accounts that they’re working with The Donners’ Company, which produced films including the “X-Men” series, “Deadpool” and “Free Willy.”
They note the production company’s owners had a hand in the release of the whale in “Free Willy” and have values that “align beautifully” with theirs.
Jenkins and Walter, who call Esther their “pig-daughter,” say the film’s writers will likely be at their farm in Campbellville, Ont., to work with them on creating the story in the next couple of months.
The pig parents say they had “non-negotiable” criteria for going forward on a film project, including wanting the ability to be on set any time they want so they can supervise.
They also wanted “the ability to ensure that if any animal is required for filming they are to be rescued/adopted, and they will be guaranteed a forever happy home following production,” said Wednesday’s post.
“I don’t even have the words to tell you how excited we are to be working with such an accomplished, and respected team. I know we’re in the best hands possible, and that they will help translate our story onto the silver screen in a really beautiful and heartwarming way.”
With over 1.4 million Facebook followers, Esther has attracted fans including actors Ricky Gervais and Alan Cumming, who wrote the foreword for the 2018 memoir “Happily Ever Esther.” The book was the followup to “Esther the Wonder Pig.”
Jenkins and Walter write in the books about how Esther was only five pounds when they adopted her. They thought she would be a so-called micro piglet, but their surprise, she grew to be full-sized.
Last summer Jenkins and Walter raised over US$500,000 to buy an animal CT scanner that’s big enough to fit Esther in order to figure out what was wrong with her back. It turned out to be breast cancer and a stomach ulcer.
She was treated with surgery and medication and was declared cancer-free and pain-free last September.