Angelina Jolie has announced her next directorial project – and it couldn't come at a better time for the world of conservation.
The 39-year-old, who previously has helmed such true-life dramas as "In the Land of Blood and Honey" (2011) and "Unbroken" (2014), will take on "Africa," a film about archeologist-turned-conservationist Richard Leakey and his battle to save the elephant. Written by Eric Roth ("Forrerst Gump, "Munich," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"), the script has been in limbo for quite some time.
“When I met Richard Leakey,” Roth told The NY Times in 2006, “I thought, ‘This is the most charismatic man I’ve ever met.’ He has no legs. He lost them when his plane was sabotaged. But he’s an interesting, sort of narcissistic, guy.”
The film will reportedly cover Leakey's career from his time as famous paleoanthropologist to fighting poachers harvesting elephant ivory in Kenya. For Jolie, who along with her family, has spent a great deal of time visiting conservation areas in Africa, the combination of Roth's script and Leakey's inspiring story was very attractive.
"I've felt a deep connection to Africa and its culture for much of my life, and was taken with Eric's beautiful script about a man drawn into the violent conflict with elephant poachers who emerged with a deeper understanding of man’s footprint and a profound sense of responsibility for the world around him," said Jolie.
News of "Africa" comes as Warner Bros. is ramping up its own efforts to complete scripts for two poaching dramas produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, and Tobey Maguire. While it will likely be some time before those films hit theaters, having so many addressing the poaching crisis is certainly welcome news for conservationists.
Check out an interview of Leakey speaking of his time in Africa below. Jolie's film is expected to start production next year.