Angelina Jolie is set to direct a real-life drama about Cambodia’s tragic Khmer Rouge regime for Netflix, according to Variety.
The project is adapted from a memoir by Cambodian author and human rights activist Loung Ung, a close friend of Jolie’s for more than 10 years. Jolie’s adopted son Maddox, 13, also born in Cambodia, is thought to be involved in the production too. Working under the title First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, the drama will be produced by Oscar-nominated Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh, best known for 2014’s The Missing Picture.
Speaking of the drama, Angelina Jolie’s fourth movie as a director, Jolie explained how the project is a personal piece to her.
“I was deeply affected by Loung’s book. It deepened forever my understanding of how children experience war and are affected by the emotional memory of it. And it helped me draw closer still to the people of Cambodia, my son’s homeland. It is a dream come true to be able to adapt this book for the screen, and I’m honoured to work alongside Loung and film-maker Rithy Panh.”
Netflix, who will be helming the project via their streaming service and has recently negotiated multi-film deals with Hollywood A-Listers Leonardo DiCaprio and Adam Sandler, has been praised by Jolie.
“Films like this are hard to watch but important to see,” Jolie said. “They are also hard to get made. Netflix is making this possible, and I am looking forward to working with them and excited that the film will reach so many people.”
Netflix’s Ted Sarandos confirmed the company was “proud” to be working on an “emotionally powerful and ultimately uplifting story.”
On the story of Loung Ung, the represensitive noted, “Loung Ung’s incredible journey is a testament to the human spirit and it’s ability to transcend even the toughest circumstances.”
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers will detail Loung Ung’s escape from the “killing fields” of Pol Pot’s Cambodia at the age of 10. Two million Cambodians, a quarter of the country’s population, died during Pol Pot’s bloody reign of terror, which began after the Khmer Rouge leader seized power in 1975. It lasted for four years until being overthrown by the Vietnamese in 1979.
Ung has written two books about her experience, which includes an enforced enlistment as a child soldier. The book version of First They Killed My Father was published in 2000.
“Angelina and I met in 2001 in Cambodia, and immediately, I trusted Angelina’s heart,” revealed the author. “Through the years, we have become close friends, and my admiration for her as a woman, a mother, a film-maker and a humanitarian has only grown. It is with great honour that I entrust my family’s story to Angelina to adapt into a film.”
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, which will be released in both English and Khmer versions, is expected to debut on the streaming site in late 2016. It will also be screened at international film festivals.
Jolie, who is known as a humanitarian for various causes (as reported in this previous Inquisitr article), is currently finishing production on the romance drama By the Sea, which she directs and stars in opposite husband Brad Pitt. Angelina Jolie also directed the wartime epic Unbroken in 2014 and the tragic 2011 Balkan war drama In the Land of Blood and Honey.
[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for A&E Network]