The poaching crisis in Africa is about to get a big boost in awareness thanks to the efforts of actor Tom Hardy.
The 35-year-old, best known for his turn as Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises," is set to host and executive produce a two-hour long documentary titled "Poaching Wars with Tom Hardy" for the U.K. television network ITV.
"The story of the impact of wildlife poaching in Africa is one that is important to tell, now more than ever," ITV controller of factual Jo Clinton-Davis told The Hollywood Reporter. " Tom Hardy's palpable concern and commitment to shedding light on what is happening and what the answers might be allow him to bring this reality home in a way that we believe will resonate powerfully with our audience."
According to the release, the documentary will cover Hardy's travels through South Africa, Botswana and Tanzania to uncover why poaching has reached crisis levels. Along the way, he meets with those impacted by the illegal industry on both sides — from the farmers losing livestock to the organizations and on-the-ground militias fighting back.
"Tom's goal is to bring the senseless slaughter of endangered wildlife in Africa to the attention of the masses," said Dean Baker, executive producer of the film. "This documentary is the first step of that process."
As was revealed last summer, that next step is likely either one or two feature films produced in partnership with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. Hardy shared a script idea with the two stars after becoming inspired by anti-poaching fighters in South Africa and other countries. According to sources, the first movie will be modeled after Oscar-nominee “Traffic,” as they hope to tell the story through multiple plot lines. It will follow all sorts of poaching elements — from the ground war on poachers in Africa to how animal material ends up in the fashion houses of Paris.
The second movie would feature Hardy himself portraying a member of an anti-poaching fighting unit. From Deadline:
"The untitled film is set in Africa and the aim is for Hardy to play a former Special Forces soldier who signs on with a friend to work in the bush, training rangers to fight off the poachers decimating the rhino and elephant populations in Zimbabwe. The soldier falls in love with the land, and the animals he is trying to save. Given his skill set, this spells bad news for the poachers."
Based on the star power behind these stories, whatever ends up seeing the light of day will immediately generate awareness for the crisis in Africa and the groups working to stop it. We're excited to see where Hardy takes this next, and hope his TV documentary also makes it stateside via Discovery, Animal Planet, NatGeo or some other network.
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