Angelina Jolie to Direct Elephant Poaching Drama 'Africa' at Skydance
As we wait for Angelina Jolie's sophomore directing effort Unbroken to hit theaters this winter, the actress turned filmmaker is moving quickly from project-to-project. We just got some first look photos from her next directorial effort, By the Sea, which stars her husband Brad Pitt, and now Deadline reports she's been lined up to direct Africa, an elephant poaching drama set up at Skydance Productions. With a script from Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) the film follows paleo-archaeologist Richard Leakey and his battle with ivory poachers in Kenya in the 80s as hunters gravely threatened the African elephant population. Read on!
This is an interesting move for David Ellison and his Skydance banner, mostly because they've usually backed big action blockbusters like the recent Star Trek and Mission: Impossible franchise sequels and the forthcoming Terminator: Genisys. Usually the more powerful and provocative dramas come from David's sister Megan Ellison and Annapurna Pictures (Zero Dark Thirty, Her, The Master). But maybe Ellison recognizes Jolie's talent and sees the need to broaden his cinematic horizons. After all, with all those successful action franchises, there has to be some extra money to throw at awards contenders, right?
On the new project, Jolie said, "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." Ellison adds, "Africa is a story that deserves to be told. It is very close to my heart, and I know that it will exceed my expectations in Angelina’s hands." Plus, she'll again have help from cinematographer Roger Deakins, who also lensed Unbroken for Jolie. The question is who will be brought into take the lead role of Richard Leakey? Stay tuned.