Actress Angelina Jolie Pitt is set to direct an adaptation of bestselling memoir “First They Killed My Father” by Khmer Rouge survivor Loung Ung, as an original feature film for Netflix, the online streaming company said in a statement on Friday.
The Hollywood icon developed close ties with Cambodia after filming in Siem Reap province as the star of “Tomb Raider” in 2001. In 2002, she and husband Brad Pitt adopted their son, Ford Maddox, from an orphanage here.
According to the press release, Ms. Jolie Pitt co-adapted the screenplay with the book’s author, whose first-person memoir recalls her childhood during the Pol Pot era before she went to the U.S. in 1980 as a 10-year-old refugee from a camp on the Thai border.
“I was deeply affected by Loung’s book,” Ms. Jolie Pitt said in the statement.
Cambodian auteur Rithy Panh, who was nominated for an Oscar last year for his film “The Missing Picture”—a memoir of his own experience under Pol Pot’s brutal regime—will co-produce, while Ford Maddox will have an acting role. Shooting is scheduled to begin later this year with a release date in 2016.
“It is a dream come true to be able to adapt this book for the screen, and I’m honored to work alongside Loung and filmmaker Rithy Panh,” said Ms. Jolie Pitt, who last year directed World War II survival story “Unbroken.”
“First They Killed My Father” was a bestseller and remains ubiquitous in bookshops and in the baskets of street-sellers around Cambodia’s tourist areas.
Over the past ten years, Ms. Ung said she and Ms. Jolie Pitt have become good friends with a common vision.
“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,” she said in a statement.
“It is with great honor that I entrust my family’s story to Angelina to adapt into a film.”
© 2015, Simon Henderson. All rights reserved.