Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has some ideas for one of Brad Pitt's upcoming film projects.
In a radio address over the weekend, Correa extended a public invitation to Pitt to travel to the South American country before he embarks on a film project about a landmark environmental pollution court battle between Ecuadorean villagers and oil giant Chevron.
Pitt’s production company has reportedly purchased the rights to a book about the long-running legal fight, beating out George Clooney’s company, Forbes reports.
The 2014 book, “The Law of the Jungle,” was written by Bloomberg Businessweek senior writer Paul Barrett and chronicles a two-decade court drama started by villagers’ claims that Texaco — later bought by Chevron —polluted Ecuador’s rainforest from the 1960s until the early 1990s. The case has been marred by fraud and corruption, and Barrett’s book raises serious ethical questions about the plaintiff's lawyer, Steven Donzinger, who in turn has sharply attacked the book.
Now Correa, a leftist who has repeatedly voiced support for the villagers, wants to personally discuss his own views on the case with Pitt.
“We’re inviting him to Ecuador so that he himself can put his hands in the contaminated soil,” Correa said. “That hand will come out black, that’s the dirty hand of Chevron.”
“I don’t know Brad Pitt, but I know his wife, Angelina Jolie, and she’s a woman who’s very involved in humanitarian causes,” Correa added..
The Ecuadorean leader instructed his aides to start a social media campaign alleging the actor is being "used" by Chevron.
The case certainly has all the ingredients for a big-screen hit. In 2011, an Ecuadorean court ordered Chevron to pay $18 billion in what was one of the largest judgements ever awarded in a pollution case. Ecuador's high court later reduced the amount to $9.5 billion.
But last year, a U.S. court determined that Ecuador's legal effort was tainted and accepted Chevron's accusations that Donzinger bribed a judge, ghostwrote a judge's ruling, and submitted fraudulent evidence in the case. At the time, the judge also said Texaco, and by extension Chevron, "might bear some responsibility" for the pollution.
A spokesperson at Creative Artists Agency, which represents Pitt, did not respond to Fusion's request for comment today.