Angelina Jolie has found her next movie to direct. The actress and now busy helmer has signed on to for Africa, an epic tale for David Ellison’s Skydance Productions. Written by Oscar winner Eric Roth, the pic is based on paleo-archaeologist Richard Leakey’s late-’80s battle with ivory poachers in Kenya that threatened the existence of the African elephant population and the soul of Africa.
Ellison, Jolie, Dana Goldberg and Jon Peters will produce. The pic also reteams cinematographer Roger Deakins and Jolie after the pair did the Louis Zamperini biopic Unbroken, which Universal releases on Christmas Day. The plan is to ramp up production on Africa soon after Jolie wraps her current gig, directing her script By The Sea for Universal in which she stars opposite husband Brad Pitt.
Her first feature helming effort, 2011’s In The Land Of Blood And Honey, served as her calling card and garnered a Golden Globe nom and the PGA’s Stanley Kramer Award, which honors filmmakers who illuminate social issues. That jibes with the idea behind Africa, as both Jolie and Ellison are involved in humanitarian causes and Jolie won the Movie Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award last year.
“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,” Jolie said in today’s announcement.
Added Ellison: “Based on Richard Leakey’s inspirational life, 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. She is an incredibly talented filmmaker and is sure to turn Eric Roth’s impeccable script into the project I’ve always wanted Skydance to be involved in.”
Skydance is behind mostly big-budget tentpoles like the Terminator reboot Terminator: Genisys, which is coming in July 2015. It’s also working on the next Mission: Impossible pic, a second Jack Reacher movie and Star Trek 3.
Jolie is repped by UTA, Media Talent Group and Sloan, Offer.