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Angelina Jolie to Direct War Photographer Don McCullin’s Biopic

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Angelina Jolie will direct Unreasonable Behaviour, a biopic of legendary British war photographer Don McCullin. The film is based on McCullin’s autobiography. The Guardian reports that the film stars Tom Hardy.

“I am humbled to have a chance to bring Don McCullin’s life to film,” said Jolie in a statement reported by Deadline. “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.”

McCullin has been a photojournalist for The Observer and The Sunday Times and has won several awards for his coverage of some of the world’s most dangerous war zones, including wartime London, with black-and-white images of poverty-stricken, unemployed, and urban conflicts. He is best known for his wartime coverage in Vietnam and Northern Ireland. Unreasonable Behaviour is his autobiography published in 2002.

In an interview with The Washington Post on the 50th anniversary of The Tet Offensive (a major part of the Vietnam War in early 1968), McCullin had talked about his the memories from the wars he had covered, including wars in Congo, Cyprus and Israel.

“Later, I photographed another Marine in a Christ pose against a wall while two others held him up. Snipers were everywhere. I asked his helpers to bring him to me so that I could carry him to a first aid station not far away. They tried to run over, but they fell, exposing a ghastly bullet wound under his hip. I lifted the injured man on my shoulders and ran him away from the battle.”

“All the great images — then and even now — do not make any difference. They are proof of what happens in war, but they are like Christmas cards: They come every year,” he said.

According to a report by The Guardian, it was Jolie’s directorial which was an adaptation of Loung Ung’s memoir of the Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia First They Killed My Father, that persuaded McCullin to collaborate with Jolie. McCullin says, “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. I feel as if I am in safe, capable and professional hands with her.”

Jolie made her directorial debut with In The Land Of Blood And Honey in 2011, a romantic story set during the Bosnian war. She followed this with directing Unbroken, a 2015 adaption of the Olympic runner Louis Zamperini’s memoir where Zamperini was captured by the Japanese during the second world war. Unreasonable Behaviour will be marking her fifth directorial.

Unreasonable Behaviour will be produced by Hardy and Dean Baker under the banner of Hardy Son & Baker, in collaboration with Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title Films. The rest of the cast has yet to be announced.  

McCullin and Mark George are the executive producers for the film while the screenplay has been written by BAFTA-nominated screenwriter Gregory Burke.

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