Angelina Jolie is set to direct a biopic on the life of Kenya-born Richard Leakey (photo above), in a project titled, quite broadly, and even perplexingly profoundly, “Africa,” as if the life of Leakey (who’s white) is somehow representative, or all-encompassing of an entire continent’s narrative.
Suffice it to say that I take issue here. But maybe there’s a method to this particular madness, which I’m anxious to learn more about.
The film will tell the story of Leakey, a fossil hunter (best known for his discovery of the bones of early hominids), drawn into a violent battle with elephant poachers, who was appointed to the position after international outcry over the killing of elephants and other wildlife in 1989.
Leakey’s method’s involved setting up armed Kenya Wildlife Service units, who were authorized to shoot poachers on sight. He went on to document his experiences in the book “Wildlife Wars: My Fight to Save Africa’s Natural Treasures,” published in 2001.
Jolie will direct from a script penned by Eric Roth, which is described as a “sweeping epic.”
On what drew her to this project, Jolie shared the following in a press statement: “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.”
This will be the actress’ 4th feature directorial effort.