Actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio purchased the movie rights to a green-themed apocalyptic thriller, the Hollywood Reporter reported Monday.
“The Sandcastle Empire,” the brainchild of actress and writer Kayla Olson, describes a post-apocalyptic 2049 where man-made global warming and overpopulation (a common fear among environmentalists) have brought human beings to the cusp of extinction.
Olson’s story shows rising ocean levels and global warming bringing to the fore a hardscrabble group of strongman survivalists called the Wolfpack. The group eventually shakes off the shackles of the ruling elite, creates an autocratic system, and runs roughshod over what remains of humanity.
Olson gained a modicum of fame after co-writing “God Made Men,” a film about a transgendered man and drag queen’s plight in an urban wasteland.
According to The Guardian, Olson’s story mirrors “The Hunger Games” — which raked in nearly $1 billion and made a mega star of Jennifer Lawrence. “The Sandcastle Empire,” like “The Hunger Games,” pits a young woman named Eden against the Wolfpack.
DiCaprio — who many believe will win his first Oscar award for his role in the Western-inspired “The Revenant”– acquired the rights to Olson’s story through his film production company Appian Way.
“The Sandcastle Empire” is not the Oscar-nominated actor and philanthropist’s first go-round with enviro-film making. Last year, for instance, DiCaprio inked a multi-year partnership with Netflix to produce a slew of documentaries focusing on conservation and environmental themes.
“There’s never been a more critical time for our planet or more of a need for gifted storytellers to help us all make sense of the issues we face. Through this partnership with Netflix, I hope to give documentary filmmakers doing urgent and important work the chance to have their films seen immediately by audiences all around the world,” he said last year about the Netflix project.
DiCaprio has given a treasure trove of money to environmental groups in the past, using his self-titled foundation — The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation — to donate $15 million in grants last year to green projects around the world.
The actor used his pedigree as a celebrity-environment activist to wrangle a confab with Pope Francis last week in The Vatican to discuss solutions to man-made global warming. DiCaprio also offered the pontiff an undisclosed amount of money for his efforts to confront environmental degradation.
The status of Olson’s novel is up in the air, as she has not listed it or any other publication on her website.
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