The bitter fall-out from the Brangelina break-up is impacting on their movie careers, with Angelina Jolie abandoning plans to make an $110 million movie about elephant poaching in Africa that would have starred Brad Pitt.
Heat Street can reveal that Jolie will no longer be directing Africa — once slated as her next big budget movie that she would be making and which was to have starred Pitt — following the collapse of their two-year marriage.
The movie, a biopic of paleoanthropologist Dr. Richard Leakey who battled ivory poachers in Kenya during the 1980s, has long been a passion project for Jolie. Pitt himself would have played Dr Leakey, but with the passion spent in their relationship, Jolie has nixed the movie.
Africa was originally announced in 2014 and was to have been financed by Skydance Productions. The biopic of Dr. Leakey, who has been a renowned conservationist for four decades, would likely have adopted a highly partisan approach against elephant poaching — which Jolie has actively campaigned against — at the same time as exploring Leakey’s personal struggles.
The script was written by Eric Roth, a longtime Brangelina creative collaborator. Jolie said at the time: “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.”
The movie almost collapsed previously owing to the expensive costs of filming in South Africa. But the project resurfaced last year when the Kenyan government offered financial incentives. Richard Leakey said last year: “We will make the film and it will be made in Kenya — for sure.”
Jolie had hoped to follow up By the Sea, the relationship drama she directed last year, which starred Pitt and herself, with Africa. But Africa’s convoluted pre-production history meant that she instead followed up By the Sea with directing a film about the murderous Khmer Rouge entitled First They Killed My Father: A Daughter Of Cambodia Remembers for Netflix.
A source close to the veteran producer Jon Peters, who was to have co-produced Africa, told Heat Street: “This movie has been a nightmare to get off the ground from the beginning. Until the last few weeks Angelina was resolute in her intent to get it made but now she doesn’t want to direct it at all.
“Brad Pitt was still interested in acting in the movie — for him it was Seven Years in Tibet [his 1997 wartime biopic] set in Africa and he wasn’t ready to give up on it. But Angelina now doesn’t want to have any kind of relationship with him, personal or professional.”
Jolie and Pitt have strong ties to Africa. She gave birth to the couple’s daughter Shiloh in Namibia, adopted daughter Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt from Ethiopia and has made million dollar donations to wildlife sanctuaries and several documentaries in the continent.
The source added that Pitt’s desire to still make Africa following the end of their marriage typifies his fixation with his movie career, in contrast to Jolie who balances her career with humanitarian causes and bringing up their six children.
“Angelina is not as obsessed with developing movies as Brad is and will take time off,” the source said, also revealing that she is unlikely to star in Kenneth Branagh’s remake of Murder on the Orient Express, as had originally been planned.
But he added: “Jolie is still trying to get Churchill and Roosevelt [her World War II biopic to which Anthony Hopkins has long been attached] made.”
Dr. Richard Leakey will doubtless be disappointed by news that Africa is not happening. He confessed last year that he asked Jolie to tone down the sex and violence in the script and that he “wanted to watch it with his grandchildren.”
As things stand, thanks to the Brangelina fall-out, nobody will now be seeing Africa.