Gary Ross has penned and directed some big Hollywood hits like Big, Pleasantville and The Hunger Games. But for the past 15 years, his obsession has been something much more personal: a Dr. Seuss-ian children's book called Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind.
It started when Ross got a call in 1996 from fellow screenwriter David Koepp. Koepp was up against a tight budget and approaching deadline with his debut directorial effort, The Trigger Effect. Its heroine had to read an as-yet-unwritten bedtime story to her child.
Koepp wanted Ross to write that story. "The only thing is, I don't have any money," he told Ross. "So it has to be for free, and I've got to shoot the day after tomorrow."
Full piece (7 minute author interview on NPR)
If you listen to the author interview you find out he created part of the fictional book for the movie The Trigger Effect. I assume they did not use a real children's book to avoid paying royalties.