Leonardo DiCaprio, Barry Jenkins Team on Feature Adaptation of ‘Virunga’ Documentary

     June 23, 2020


Barry Jenkins, who won an Oscar for writing Moonlight, has been tapped to write a feature adaptation of the 2014 documentary Virunga that will be produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and released once again on Netflix.

DiCaprio executive produced the documentary from writer-director Orlando von Einsiedel, whose film earned an Oscar nomination for its depiction of the rangers who regularly risk their lives to save Africa’s most beloved national park and its endangered gorillas.

DiCaprio will produce via his Appian Way banner along with Jennifer Davisson and Phillip Watson, as well as Oscar winner Joann Natasegara of Violent Films. Von Einsiedel will serve as an executive producer on the feature version, according to Deadline‘s scoop.


Image via A24

Jenkins has been incredibly busy since Moonlight won Best Picture, and he earned a second Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for writing If Beale Street Could Talk, based on the celebrated book by James Baldwin. He wrote Rachel Morrison‘s upcoming directorial debut Flint Strong starring Ryan Destiny and Ice Cube, and his Amazon series The Underground Railroad, based on the bestselling novel by Colson Whitehead, is shaping up to be one of the TV events of the year… whenever it debuts.

Jenkins is also attached to direct a biopic of influential choreographer Alvin Ailey for Searchlight Pictures. Clearly, the man has a lot on his plate, and deservedly so. I think Jenkins and DiCaprio both have really good taste and gravitate to classy material, and this partnership sounds really promising on paper. Perhaps it will lead to Jenkins directing DiCaprio down the line, though I suppose nothing has been ruled out regarding Virunga itself at this stage. I don’t expect Jenkins to direct or DiCaprio to play an onscreen role here, because if that was the plan, it would’ve been announced in Deadline’s story, but hey, the possibility still exists too, right?

Speaking of tantalizing possibilities, Jenkins has also said that he’d love to make a James Bond spinoff about Moneypenny starring Naomie Harris, and to read more about that splendid idea, click here.

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