Cameron Crowe has cast his "Almost Famous" star Patrick Fugit in 20th Century Fox's "We Bought a Zoo," while Elle Fanning is in negotiations to board the project as well, the studio has confirmed to TheWrap.
The true-life drama follows a family as they move to the English countryside where they operate a dilapidated zoo together.
Damon will star as Mee, who had to balance caring for his sick wife with the many responsibilities of renovating and re-opening a zoo filled with 200 exotic animals, some of which were endangered.
Fugit will play Robin, an employee at the zoo, while Fanning will play Lily, a 13-year-old who works at the zoo's restaurant and quickly becomes intrigued by the teenage son (Ford) of the zoo's new owner, whose wife (Johansson) becomes a maternal figure to the young girl.
Aline Brosh McKenna ("The Devil Wears Prada") wrote the initial draft of the screenplay, which has since been rewritten by Crowe.
Julie Yorn is producing "We Bought a Zoo," which Fox plans to release on Dec. 23, 2011.
Fugit was last seen in the indie thriller "Horsemen" and the supernatural fantasy film "The Vampire's Assistant." He's also set to co-star in the HBO movie "Cinema Verite"
Fanning is represented by Osbrink Talent Agency and One Talent Management, while Fugit is represented by Gersh and Levin/Brown Management, whose Gail Levin is Crowe's longtime casting director.