Ben Affleck will direct and produce the historical drama “King Leopold’s Ghost,” set in the early 20th Century in the Congo.
The project will be developed by One Community. Affleck will produce via his Pearl Street Films banner, alongside Martin Scorsese who will produce via his Sikelia Productions banner. Harry and Gina Belafonte will also produce. Emma Koskoff-Tillinger is also producing for Sikelia. Madison Ainley will executive produce for Pearl Street.
Farhad Safinia is attached to write the script, inspired by Adam Hochschild’s best-selling book about Leopold II of Belgium’s plunder in the Congo and the Congolese who defied him and fought back. The struggle sparked an unlikely alliance between a black American missionary, an English investigative journalist and an Irish spy, resulting in one of the first human rights movements in history.
One Community is a co-financer on Warner Bros.’ drama “Just Mercy,” starring Michael B. Jordan and Brie Larson. The film made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Affleck starred in and directed “Argo” and “The Town.” Key leading roles include “Justice League,” “The Accountant,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Gone Girl” and the upcoming “The Way Back.” He’s also a co-founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative, which was launched in 2010 an advocacy and grant-making initiative for the people of eastern Congo.
Safinia co-wrote and co-produced “Apocalypto” and created, executive produced and served as showrunner of the Golden Globe-nominated series “Boss,” for which Kelsey Grammer was awarded the Golden Globe for best actor in a drama.
One Community, headed by Scott Budnick, is a film, television, and new media company that emphasizes the power of commercial storytelling to enable positive global social change.
Affleck is represented by WME and Ziffren Brittenham. Safinia is represented by WME, Brian Sher and Morris Yorn. Scorsese is represented by WME, LBI Entertainment and Hansen Jacobson. The news was first reported by Deadline.