Ben Affleck is teaming up with a legendary director for his next project.
The Cambridge native is set to direct “King Leopold’s Ghost,” a historical drama set in 20th century Congo, with Martin Scorsese (“Goodfellas,” “Taxi Driver”) serving as a co-producer.
Inspired by Adam Hochschild’s best-selling book of the same name, Affleck’s film explores the story of Leopold II of Belgium’s colonialist plundering of Congo’s vast supply of ivory and rubber in the late 1800s and early 1900s. According to a plot synopsis published by Variety, after a number of Congolese rebelled against the Belgian imperialists, a “black American missionary, an English investigative journalist, and an Irish spy” joined forces to publicize the Belgian atrocities in one of the first human rights movements in modern history.
The film’s subject is an important one for Affleck: The actor has raised money for years through his non-profit, The Eastern Congo Initiative, and has testified before Congress multiple times about the need for the United States to combat atrocities in the eastern provinces of the Congo.
“Even in the face of violence and upheaval, the Congolese remain resilient and entirely determined to rebuild their country,” Affleck said during a testimony to Congress in 2012. “The 70 million Congolese deserve a better tomorrow, and they haven’t given up on trying to build a better future. With support from Congress and leadership from the President, the United States can help them get there.”