The immediate followup question to that headline would be: and what white man or white woman will likely come to the rescue and save the animals…?
Or am I being presumptuous? History is on my side, however, so I'll say no, I'm not being presumptuous.
The 411 courtesy of Deadline…
Both projects are coming from Warner Bros, and are being produced by Tobey Maguire‘s Material Pictures, Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Appian Way and Tom Hardy‘s Executive Options.
Some high profile projects there, won't you say, with this trifecta behind all 3; I'm sure this is a cause they all champion, and want to address on film, so maybe I should cut them some slack.
The first project will star Tom Hardy, and will be based on his original idea. It'll be set in Zimbabwe, and will see Hardy as…
… 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.
Of course! Although I was also expecting a line about him falling in love, not only with the land and the animals, but with one of the local Zimbabwean women. Gotta have some kind of a love story to help ensure you're attracting as wide an audience as possible.
The second film, which, to be frank, sounds a lot more promising to me, is being described as…
… a Traffic-like dissection of the ivory-trafficking industry that exploits the global market for illicit parts from slain animals that are used as aphrodisiacs and other ridiculous purposes. Like the Stephen Gaghan-scripted and Steven Soderbergh-directed drug saga Traffic, this is planned as a multi-stranded storyline that traces the supply and demand for ivory stripped and sold for fortunes in places like China.
Maguire, DiCaprio and Hardy might all star in this one.
As already stated, both projects are housed at the WB, but it's not 100% certain that both of them will be made; we may only see 1 of them; and from reading Deadline's report, it seems like the second project is more attractive to the studio, because "it is rich terrain and gets to the heart of an illicit industry by telling stories from several perspectives."
And I as said, I'd much prefer that idea to the first one, and if they can only make one of them, I hope it's project #2, which will give us a more rounded, global look at the matter, instead of the typical white-man-in-Africa motifs that we've seen over and over again from studio cinema.
Maybe Stephen Gaghan will be brought in to pen the script for this as well, since he wrote the screenplay for Traffic, which earned him an Academy Award.
But this news comes as a coincidence, as just this morning, in skimming through my news feed, catching up with the world, I read this Reuters Africa report that said that this year, a record number of rhinos have been illegally killed in South Africa (home to more than 20,000 rhinos, or about 90 percent of all the rhinos in continental Africa), driven by the demand for their horns in Chinese medicine; notably the Southeast Asian idea that they can cure cancer (which has not been scientifically-proven).
According to Reuters Africa, street value for rhino horns soared to about $65,000 a kilogramme, making it more expensive than gold!! Wow!
But this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Just google animal poaching and you'll find a lot of information – elephants and their ivory tusks, leopards captured and skinned for their fur, gorillas hunted down and slaughtered for their meat, and more.