Ben Affleck set to direct film adaptation of King Leopold’s Ghost
According to Deadline, two-time Academy Award winner Ben Affleck (Good Will Hunting, Argo) has signed on to helm One Community’s forthcoming historical drama film titled King Leopold’s Ghost with Martin Scorsese attached to produce the film. Based on author Adam Hochschild’s best-selling book King Leopold’s Ghost: Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa, the film will be written by Farhad Safinia (Apocalypto).
King Leopold’s Ghost will be based on one of the most horrifying and devastating true events that happened in human history that ruthlessly took away the lives of more than 8 million Congolese. The film is set at a moment when European countries were racing to find ways to carve up the natural resources of Africa, Belgium’s King Leopold II became the world’s richest man with billions stashed in secret bank accounts by gaining private ownership of the Congo Free State, and inserted a mercenary army to cruelly plunder rubber and ivory.
The film will tell the story of the brave Congolese that fought back against the cruelty of Leopold II, who forced the locals to work for him while he tortured and killed those who refuses his orders. Their heroic plight inspired the unlikely alliance between a black American missionary, an English investigative journalist and an Irish spy that shone a light on the horrors and gave birth to the first human rights movement.
Affleck had already been working on the project for several years due to his love for Congo and at one point was even thinking of turning King Leopold’s Ghost into a limited series but later on ultimately decided to adapt it into film. His passion for the region also resulted to Affleck forming the Eastern Congo Initiative which is an an advocacy and grant-making initiative focused for the people of eastern Congo.
Affleck will also be serving as a producer through his Pearl Street Films. King Leopold’s Ghost will also be produced by Sikelia Productions’ Emma Koskoff-Tillinger and Scorsese along with Harry Gina Belafonter. Pearl Street’s Madison Ainley is set to executive produce the film with One Community (Just Mercy) to handle its financing.
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