Richard Leakey in Angelina Jolie's screen biopic
Angelina Jolie is working on a big screen biopic of conservationist and palaeoanthropologist Richard Leakey, with Brad Britt rumoured to be in negotiations for the lead, but Leakey has explained he's asked the director to cut out some of the scenes, so he can watch it with his grandchildren.
Leakey, 70, is known for his discoveries of important hominid fossils in East Africa, with Angelina's planned biopic bringing his varied life to the screen for the first time.
Oscar winner Eric Roth has penned the screenplay, but Leakey has confessed that after reading the first draft, he has asked for the script to be toned down to better reflect his life.
'I have a reputation for having had a fairly full life, but not nearly as full as that,' Leakey said, but he added he was worried Angelina's husband may no longer be interested in the lead role if the action is stripped out.
Angelina has previously spoken of her passion for her fourth directorial effort, explaining in a statement about the project last September:
'I’ve felt a deep connection to Africa and its culture for much of my life. [I] 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.'
Angelina has strong links with Africa through both her work on film, with charities and through her children.
Leakey is hoping the big screen biopic depicting his life will shoot in Kenya, and provide a welcome boost to tourism in his home country.
When the film was first announced last year it was thought the cost of shooting in Africa might prohibit it from being made there, until the Kenyan government created financial incentives to make the project more affordable.
'We will make the film and it will be made in Kenya - for sure,' Leakey said this week. 'The government told the treasury to make it happen and it is. Kenya needs this film, it will be a double benefit for us.'
The script by Roth is described as a 'sweeping epic,' and tells the story of 'African-born Leakey, a fossil hunter who helped find bones of early man but later turned his attention to combating elephant and rhino poaching.'
The film will be produced by David Ellison and Dana Goldberg of Skydance, as well as Jon Peters. Jolie will also produce. Roger Deakins, who worked with Jolie on Unbroken, will serve as cinematographer.
Leakey's discovery of KNM-ER 1470, a 1.9 million-year-old skull belonging to Homo rudolfensis made him world-renowned, while he also raised global awareness on elephant poaching in East Africa in the Eighties.
He lost both legs below the knee in the light aircraft crash in 1993, while he also won a seat in parliament in the nineties where he continued his conservation campaign.