Angelina Jolie is the latest multihyphenate to make the digital leap, as Netflix has sealed a deal for her to direct “First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers.” It’s based on a memoir by Cambodian author and activist Loung Ung about surviving the Khmer Rouge killing machine that took control of the government in 1975.
This time, Jolie co-wrote the script with the author, and will also produce for Netflix. Foreign Oscar-nominated “The Missing Picture” — a half-animated documentary on Pol Pot’s regime — director Rithy Panh is also a producer on this project.
In the book, Ung recalls being trained as a child soldier in a work camp from the age of five and being separated from her six siblings. Jolie’s interest in the story dates back to over a decade ago, when she read the 2000 memoir and befriended Ung before they wrote the script together.
According to Netflix, Jolie’s 13-year-old son Maddox Jolie-Pitt will be involved in the production. Her husband, Brad Pitt, co-stars in her latest directorial outing, “By the Sea,” an original relationship drama that Universal is releasing on November 13, 2015.
Increasingly, Netflix is using its deep pockets to set the tone for how movies get made, and where they get seen. In June, the company made a pricey pact with writer/director David Michod’s Brad Pitt-starrer “War Machine,” a political satire about a rockstar US general that draws from a Michael Hastings book that Pitt and his Plan B partners acquired last year.
Amazon Studios is following suit, with film titles burnishing an Emmy-nominated slate of streamable TV series. Amazon Studios head Roy Price and his production chief, Ted Hope, are ambitiously gunning for a December awards-qualifying run for Spike Lee’s urban violence drama “Chi-Raq.” Then the movie is expected to open after the new year, with the short window between theatrical and digital release that Amazon has set up to placate exhibitors.
Amazon, which just yesterday tapped Variety film critic Scott Foundas as acquisitions executive, hopes to roll out about 12 mid-budget films per year. The budding film slate includes historical drama “Elvis and Nixon,” which is exactly what it sounds like, a Jim Jarmusch picture, Terry Gilliam’s “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” and Nicolas Cage-starrer “Bonjour Anne.”