The film is an adaptation of Lois Duncan's 1971 children's book of the same name, Variety.com reported Tuesday.
The story is about two orphaned teenagers who hide dozens of stray dogs in an abandoned hotel.
The "Hotel Rwanda" Oscar nominee, who was recently seen in the film “Reign Over Me,” will play a social worker who keeps the kids out of trouble, the trade paper said.
"John Tucker Must Die" scribe Jeff Lowell wrote the screenplay.
The film is set to begin shooting in early November with newcomer Thor Freudenthal at the helm.