Angelina Jolie to direct Richard Leakey biopic about ivory poaching

This will be the star’s fifth film in the director’s seat

Neela Debnath
Tuesday 23 September 2014 17:06 BST
Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie ('Africa' will be Angelina Jolie's fifth film as a director)

Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie has signed up to direct Africa, a biopic of Kenyan politician and conservationist Richard Leakey.

Africa will focus on Leakey’s fight against ivory poachers in the 1980s when he was the head of the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS).

During his time as the Chairman of the KWS he ordered rangers to shoot any poachers they found and controversially burned a stockpile of ivory worth millions of pounds.

He also raised millions from Western governments and successfully campaigned for a global ban on ivory trading by stopping elephant poaching.

Leakey’s tenure was contentious among Kenyan politicians. Even though his work channelled money back into Kenya’s wildlife parks, the loss of revenue from the ivory trade was looked upon unfavourably.

However, his methods were effective in re-shaping not just conservation in Kenya but across the world.

The script has been written by Eric Roth, who won an Academy Award for his screenplay for Forest Gump. He also penned Munich and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the latter starring Jolie’s husband Brad Pitt.

Jolie is currently directing By the Sea, a romantic period drama set in the Seventies and stars the actress and Pitt. Jolie also wrote the screenplay for the film, which is being filmed in Malta.

Her third film Unbroken is in post-production and will be out next year.

The 39-year-old actress made her directorial debut in 2007 with the documentary A Place in Time, followed up by the harrowing In the Land of Blood and Honey in 2011 about the Bosnian war.

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