And you thought SeaWorld was a problem.
Dakota Group and Submarine, the company behind the documentaries Blackfish, about the mistreatment of killer whales in SeaWorld, and The Cove, about dolphin hunting practices in Japan, have chosen their next species to shine some light onto. The team has bought the rights to the book Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City’s Most Unwanted Inhabitants by Robert Sullivan and are developing a feature-length documentary based on the often hidden world beneath the streets and sidewalks of New York City.
“We have been obsessed and terrified by rats living in New York City over the years, and when we read Robert Sullivan’s book, we couldn’t put it down,” the producers said in a statement. “We look forward to collaborating with (Sullivan) and bringing his highly entertaining and scholarly book to the big screen.”
Sullivan will serve as an advisor on the film, with production beginning early next year. In addition to the materials found in the book, Sullivan will also provide his extensive archive of research material that didn’t make the final cut. Yup, there are even more things about dirty street rats that you really didn’t need (or want) to know.
The film will document the rats’ first migration to America centuries ago on European ships coming from London, Norway and Holland and share different points of view from trash collectors to Nobel-winning scientists. “I love that (Dakota Group and Submarine) are able to take a theme and explore it to great and reverberating depths. In their hands, Rats will take us to great places. I myself am getting ready to travel deep into what a city is and how we think about ourselves as creatures, among other things,” Sullivan adds.
Luckily, no research is required to watch.