Angelina Jolie to direct biopic of photographer Don McCullin starring Tom Hardy

Star to adapt autobiography of celebrated war photographer, who covered crises in Vietnam and Northern Ireland

Angelina Jolie is to direct a biopic of photojournalist Don McCullin, starring Tom Hardy.

The film, which is being adapted by ’71 screenwriter Gregory Burke from McCullin’s autobiography, Unreasonable Behaviour.

McCullin, 85, is one of the most celebrated photographers of war, conflict and poverty in recent times. Born in London, he worked as a photographer’s assistant during the Suez crisis before selling his first photo – of a gang in north London – to the Observer in 1959.

Between 1966 and 1984, he worked as an overseas correspondent for the Sunday Times Magazine, where his coverage of crises in Vietnam and Northern Ireland won him especial acclaim.

Don McCullin in 2019, next to his 1968 photograph of a US marine in Vietnam.
Don McCullin in 2019, next to his 1968 photograph of a US marine in Vietnam. Photograph: Matt Dunham/AP

“I am humbled to have a chance to bring Don McCullin’s life to film,” said Jolie. “I was drawn to his unique combination of fearlessness and humanity – his absolute commitment to witnessing the truth of war, and his empathy and respect for those who suffer its consequences. We hope to make a film that is as uncompromising as Don’s photography, about the extraordinary people and events he witnessed, and the rise and fall of a unique era in journalism.”

Most of Jolie’s films as a director have been set during times of contemporary conflict. Her 2011 debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey, was about a romance during the Bosnian war, while Unbroken (2015) adapted the memoir of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini, who was captured by the Japanese during the second world war.

After By the Sea (2015), a love story shot during her honeymoon with former husband Brad Pitt, Jolie adapted Loung Ung’s Khmer Rouge memoir First They Killed My Father.

It was this film that apparently persuaded McCullin to collaborate with Jolie.

“Having viewed Angelina’s last film on Cambodia, and having spent so much time during the war there, I was very impressed at how she made such a powerful and accurate representation of the place at that time,” he said. “I feel as if I am in safe, capable and professional hands with her.”

The film will be produced by Working Title alongside Hardy’s own Hardy Son & Baker company.


Catherine Shoard

The GuardianTramp

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