Books

Wichita man’s memoir being developed as television series

The Gorilla and Bird share advice

Author Zack McDermott and his mother, Cindy Cisneros McGilvrey, a Wichita teacher, share advice for how to help a child with mental illness. McDermott's book, "Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother's Love," will be published Sept.
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Author Zack McDermott and his mother, Cindy Cisneros McGilvrey, a Wichita teacher, share advice for how to help a child with mental illness. McDermott's book, "Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother's Love," will be published Sept.

A Wichita man’s memoir about his struggle with bipolar disorder is being developed into a television series.

According to the Deadline.com, actor-producer Channing Tatum has teamed with Big Beach, the company that produced “Little Miss Sunshine,” to option Zack McDermott’s book for TV.

The book, “Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother’s Love,” was published this week by Little, Brown and Co.

McDermott, who grew up in Wichita and graduated from Northwest High, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after experiencing a psychotic episode in New York City in 2009.

As he recounts in the opening chapters of his book, McDermott spent 12 hours wandering the streets of New York, convinced he was being videotaped as part of an audition for a TV pilot, before police apprehended him on a subway platform and transported him to a psychiatric ward at Bellevue Hospital.

On Wednesday, the irony of McDermott’s life being turned into a television series wasn’t lost on the 34-year-old author.

“Sometimes it pays off to think that you’re secretly on TV,” he said.

Sometimes it pays off to think that you’re secretly on TV.

Zack McDermott, author of “Gorilla and the Bird,” which has been optioned for television

McDermott will serve as co-executive producer for the proposed series.

“Gorilla and the Bird” chronicles McDermott’s struggle with mental illness, his journey back to Kansas and a recovery guided by his mother, nicknamed the Bird, who is a Wichita teacher.

McDermott and his mother, Cindy McGilvrey, are scheduled to appear at Watermark Books on Oct. 12.

Suzanne Perez Tobias: 316-268-6567, @suzannetobias

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