Three months ahead of the release of Unbroken, her second film as director, Angelina Jolie has signaled that she’s serious about her mid-career turn as a filmmaker by announcing her fourth directing project: a biopic of Kenyan paleoanthropologist and conservationist Richard Leakey.
Based on a script by Eric Roth, Africa is being described as a “sweeping epic” about the Nairobi-born scholar, who began his career as a fossil hunter studying the origins of humankind but later took up the cause of elephant and rhino poaching. The film sounds much in Jolie’s global-humanitarian wheelhouse, though we can only hope the title will be changed to something less generic and problematic. (It’s hard to imagine a film about, say, naturalist John Muir being called “North America.”)
Of the film, Jolie commented, “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.”
Unbroken, about Olympic athlete and World War II POW Louis Zamperini, opens Christmas Day. Jolie is currently shooting her third film, the “intimate” marriage drama By the Sea, with her husband Brad Pitt.