As we reported almost two years ago, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Tom Hardy have teamed up to produce an anti-poaching drama for Warner Bros. Deadline is now reporting that Will Staples has been tapped to write the screenplay. The three producers might also take onscreen roles in the film, which Deadline describes as being in the vein of Traffic. The story will dissect the global market of poaching, ranging from portraits of individual poachers to corrupt executives to the marketplace that would buy parts from dead animals for use as an aphrodisiac or other absurd purposes.
Staples is a very hot screenwriter at the moment. Having previously served as a writer for the Call of Duty video games, he landed a Black List script with King of Heists, which will star Jeremy Renner. In addition to King of Heists, Staples wrote an untitled geopolitical thriller for Ben Affleck to star in and direct, he’s still at work on the big sci-fi action film Myth, and he also worked on the screenplay for Mission: Impossible 5. It will be interesting to see if this animal poaching drama can hit the fast track after being in development hell for a couple years. The actors involved are so passionate about the issue that they’re actually making two films about it. Hit the jump for more.
Deadline also confirms that DiCaprio, Maguire, and Hardy are also still working with Warner Bros. on an entirely separate animal trafficking picture. This one is being written by Sheldon Turner (Up in the Air), and will be a star vehicle for Hardy. The movie is set in Africa, and stars Hardy as a former Special Forces soldier who trains rangers to battle the poachers that are decimating the rhino and elephant populations in Zimbabwe.
It’s odd to see the same studio and producers compete against themselves when it comes to movies, but this is clearly an important issue to the actors, and it looks like they’re trying to make sure at least one movie gets to theaters in order to raise awareness for their worthy cause.