Ben Affleck continues to add to his busy schedule. He’s signed on to direct another drama based on an underreported facet of history, just as he did with his Best Picture winner, Argo. Affleck will direct King Leopold’s Ghost, based on the non-fiction book of the same title by Adam Hochschild, which will revolve around the awful legacy of Belgium’s King Leopold II in the 1800s.
Leopold became wealthy by privately buying the Congo Free State, setting up mercenary armies who plundered the region for resources, and slaughtered anyone who got in his way. Eventually, residents of the Congo began to fight back against Leopold’s vicious rule, and Affleck’s film will focus on three people leading the counter-cause: an Irish spy, an English journalist, and an African-American missionary.
Farhad Safinia (Apocalypto) will write the script and Affleck will produce himself via his Pearl Street banner. The book has been previously adapted in a 2006 documentary, and Affleck’s team was originally considering developing the story as a limited series.
The actor has been personally interested in African justice for a while. He founded the Eastern Congo Initiative, a group that works with residents of the area to further socioeconomic progress. With King Leopold’s Ghost he hopes to put this real-life passion into his artistic life for the first time.
This sounds like an important project, but Affleck will have to find time for it. As mentioned, he’s got a lot on his plate right now. He’s re-teaming with Matt Damon for Ridley Scott‘s The Last Duel, is starring in both Robert Rodriguez‘s Hypnotic and Adrian Lyne‘s erotic thriller Deep Water, and also directing the WWII drama Ghost Army.
He’s also potentially directing a remake of Witness For The Prosecution, and also has a film based on a nationwide McDonald’s Monopoly scam in the works. Plus, the trailer for his alcoholism drama The Way Back dropped earlier this week, so he’ll have to do press for that.
He’ll obviously find time for King Leopold’s Ghost, the question is simply when it will get done. Perhaps getting some star power can help move this project along faster, and every actor in Hollywood will have interest in this story. Expect to hear a lot more about this in the next year.