Two years ago, we told you about a project teaming up Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy and Tobey Maguire as producers of a drama about animal trafficking for Warner Bros. The film was inspired by Hardy’s friends, former Special Forces operatives who went on to become anti-poaching fighters in South Africa and other nations where the problem ran rampant.
Although that project is still in development with Hardy in the lead, Deadline reports the same three have signed with the same studio to produce another film about the same issue, and they may all star in this one. Scripted by Will Staples, so far best known for writing video games and the as-yet-unmade Mission: Impossible 5, the new project will follow a structure somewhat in the vein of Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic, as in it’s taking a multistory approach to the impact of animal poaching.
The film will explore the heinous industry from every facet and angle, from the dirty back door dealings that start the whole process, to a glimpse into the life of a poacher — and what could possibly make hunting down and slaying animals for profit a great career choice — to every single minion hanging out in the seedy dark corners of a trade that okays capturing an elephant for its ivory and storming the seas to fish for sharks for their valuable fins.
What’s interesting is that the original Warner Bros. project, which now has a script by Sheldon Turner (Up In The Air), was initially supposed to follow the Traffic structure, too, but that plan was apparently scrapped.
The double-down on these similar-sounding movies is an interesting choice for the three, but not surprising. Hardy has clearly submersed himself in the fight against animal poaching already, and DiCaprio is an ardent fighter for animal rights. He has donated millions of dollars to habitat preservation and anti-whaling groups. It’s the natural next step for a group of passionate animal activists/actors to make a film about the issues that touch them most.