Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Angelina Jolie is making her next project a family affair! The Academy Award-winning actress will direct, produce and co-write an adaptation of Cambodian author Loung Ung's memoir, First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers. "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," Jolie said in a statement. "And it helped me draw closer still to the people of Cambodia, my son's homeland."
The actress' eldest son, 13-year-old Maddox Jolie-Pitt, was born in Cambodia. The teen is said to be involved in the film's production. "It is a dream come true to be able to adapt this book for the screen," the Unbroken filmmaker added, "and I'm honored to work alongside Loung and filmmaker Rithy Panh."
The film will be released in both Khmer and English. Jolie's directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey, was also released in two languages.
Ung's memoir recalls how the Khmer Rouge took power in Cambodia when she was 5 years old. She was subsequently trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans while her six siblings were sent to labor camps. Jolie read the book more than a decade ago, contacted Ung, and the two became friends.
It was because of their friendship that Ung entrusted Jolie with her story. "Angelina and I met in 2001 in Cambodia, and immediately, I trusted Angelina's heart," Ung said. "Through the years, we have become close friends, and my admiration for Angelina as a woman, a mother, a filmmaker and a humanitarian has only grown. It is with great honor that I entrust my family's story to Angelina to adapt into a film."
So, why did Jolie decide to partner with Netflix? "Films like this are hard to watch but important to see," she said of the streaming video service. "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."
"We are proud to be with Angelina Jolie in brining this emotionally powerful and ultimately uplifting story exclusively to Netflix members around the world," chief content officer Ted Sarandos said. "Loung Ung's incredible journey is a testament to the human spirit and its ability to transcend even the toughest circumstances."
Because of First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, Jolie is postponing filming on Africa, her planned drama for Paramount and Skydance about Dr. Richard Leaky's battle against the illegal wildlife trade. Plus, Africa needs more time for script revisions and production planning, she said.
Jolie next appears in Universal Pictures' By the Sea with Brad Pitt, which she wrote and and directed. Last month it was announced that Pitt will release his next movie, War Machine, via Netflix.