Renowned conservationist Dr Richard Leakey has said he is unaware that a movie on his life is to be filmed in South Africa. In a press statement, he expressed optimism that the movie would be shot in Kenya, where he has lived, but the extent of his influence on the decision is unknown.
In a statement, Leakey said he had received no indication that the movie with a working title of "Africa", would be shot in South Africa and not in Kenya. He was responding to a story in the Daily Nation about the worrying trend of Kenyan stories being filmed in South Africa. The latest being the story of the Westgate siege.
"I have been in frequent contact with the agents and the producers for the movie and I have received no indications that the movie would be shot in South Africa," he said.
Before becoming the director of Kenya Wildlife Service and a politician, Dr Leakey achieved worldwide fame and made the cover of Time magazine in the 1970s after he unearthed a treasure trove of remarkable fossil finds that proved human life originated in Africa.
BRAD PITT AS LEAKEY
The movie, produced by Angelina Jolie will star her husband Hollywood heartthrob Brad Pitt as Dr Leakey, was set to be filmed almost entirely in Kenya.
The storyline is by acclaimed scriptwriter Eric Roth who told The Independent that Leakey's remarkable life deserved a cinematic celebration.
"I think Leakey is most deserving of a cinematic celebration, for over the past 50 years his life has been a stormy brew of successes, controversies and dreadful misfortunes - a kind of knockabout post-colonial adventure that has taken place on a continent almost continuously," he's quoted as saying.
In the statement, Dr Leakey said he had no doubt that while negotiations and finer aspects of the movie were being finalised, the intent would be still to film in Kenya. "It is Kenya where my life has been and where the movie has to be made."
According to our sources, the decision to film in South Africa is purely a business decision. Unlike Kenya, the country has very attractive incentives for filmmakers and aggressively woos them. The government and the Kenya Film Commission have not disclosed if they have made any offers or attempts to get the movie to stay in the country.