The two production teams behind the incredibly-successful documentary "Blackfish" are looking to give the lowly rat a branding makeover. Submarine Entertainment and Dakota Group have announced a new documentary based on best-selling book by Robert Sullivan, "Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants."

"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," reps for the deal said in a statement. "We look forward to collaborating with (Sullivan) and bringing his highly entertaining and scholarly book to the big screen."

Sullivan's book follows the author's interaction over the course of a year with a group of rats infesting an alley near Wall Street. As he learns more about the creatures, he also comes in contact with both its friends and foes (humans and animals alike) and explores the history of the species and its centuries-old relationship with our urban settlements. "Rats offers a penetrating slice through the usual urban byways, weaving history, urban planning, archeology, and natural history together into a fascinating and highly readable mix," writes BlogCritics in a review

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the documentary will feature a similar mix of history and modern-day portraits of rats in New York City. The film will also chronicle the city's efforts to keep the rat population (estimated at more than 16 million) under control via the 45 inspectors on the front lines. 

"I love that (Dakota Group and Submarine) are able to take a theme and explore it to great and reverberating depths," said Sullivan. "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."

"Rats" is expected to start production early next year. 

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

'Blackfish' producers aim to give rats an image makeover next
New documentary will be based on Robert Sullivan's book 'Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants.'