Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Tom Hardy are teaming up to produce a still-untitled animal-trafficking drama with Warner Bros. Studios. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film is shaping up to be reminiscent of Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic, but instead of focusing on the widespread, multi-tiered impact of the war on drugs, this film would cover everything from the ground war on poachers in Africa to the ways in which animal materials end up in Parisian fashion houses and runway shows.
The idea for the film was reportedly Hardy’s; the actor claims to have drawn inspiration from friends who left their positions as Special Forces operatives to fight poaching practices in South Africa and other nations. DiCaprio’s involvement also makes perfect sense; animal rights is an issue close to the actor’s heart, a fact most recently demonstrated by his role as spokesperson for the International Fund for Animal Welfare‘s campaign to protect elephants.
So what does this have to do with PR? Well, it’s been proven time and again that film is an invaluable method of spreading public awareness and understanding of social and political issues; the public is more willing to follow a cause when its statement of purpose comes wrapped in an entertaining package (take Edward Zwick’s DiCaprio vehicle Blood Diamond, for example). Zwick has said of his decision to make that film, “I had heard the phrase [blood diamond], but I didn’t fully understand its implications…The more I learned, the more fascinated and horrified I became, and the more I realized this was a story that needed to be told.”
It is unclear when this anti-poaching story will be told (and who will play its brave hero), but one thing is certain: endangered animals could do worse than to have three Hollywood A-listers as their representatives.