Ben Affleck to make film about the Congo under Leopold II

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American actor Ben Affleck has announced that he will direct and produce a historical drama about the crimes committed in Congo under the reign of the Belgian King Leopold II.

The Brussels Times reports that the film will be based on the book ‘King Leopold’s Ghost’ by journalist Adam Hochschild, which focuses on the reign of terror that Leopold II conducted from 1885 to 1908 in his private colony of Congo Free State. According to the author, this reign cost the lives of at least 8 million people.

The film will tell the stories of three men – a black American missionary, an English investigative journalist and an Irish spy – who denounced the situation in the Congo and formed the basis for one of the first human rights movements in history.

Farhad Safinia is attached to write the script, while Affleck will collaborate with various partners – including Martin Scorsese and Harry Belafonte – on the production of the film.

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While an accomplished actor and director, Affleck is also a co-founder of the American nonprofit organization Eastern Congo Initiative. The initiative is “the first U.S.-based advocacy and grant-making initiative wholly focused on working with and for the people of eastern Congo”.

Affleck’s recent directing credits include the adaptation of the novel Live B