Belfast Telegraph

Jolie to direct ivory poaching film

Angelina Jolie is to to direct a film about conservationist Richard Leakey's battles with ivory poachers.

The Oscar-winning actress will take the reins on Africa, which will focus on the former head of the Kenya Wildlife Service and his measures to stem the illegal ivory trade, said The Hollywood Reporter.

"I've felt a deep connection to Africa and its culture for much of my life," Angelina said.

The screenplay has been written by Eric Roth, who won an Oscar for Forrest Gump.

Angelina continued: "I was taken by 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."

The African-born conservationist tackled poachers by sending helicopter gunships into the national park, which have helped Kenya's elephant and rhino populations recover from the brink of disaster.

Producer David Ellison, whose company Skydance co-produced films including True Grit and Jack Reacher, called Leakey "inspirational" and said: "Africa is a story that deserves to be told."

Angelina, who married Brad Pitt in France in August, has worked in Africa before. She shot 2003 drama Beyond Borders with Clive Owen in Ethiopia, and she also gave birth to daughter Shiloh in Africa's Namibia in 2006.

The 39-year-old actress is currently directing and starring opposite her husband in the film By The Sea, based on her own screenplay. Her next movie, Unbroken, starring British actor Jack O'Connell as Olympian and war prisoner Louis Zamperini, will be released in December.

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