Made over seven years and in partnership with Pitt’s production company Plan B, Boynton’s film tracks American oil company execs and African politicians as they negotiate a drilling deal that could benefit everyone except the local population.
On Wednesday night, following a Los Angeles screening of Rachel Boynton’s documentary Big Men — an edge-of-your-seat film that offers an unprecedented inside look at how American oil companies and African governments interact when oil is discovered in Africa — The Hollywood Reporter met up with Boynton and one of the film’s executive producers, Brad Pitt, to discuss how the project came together and what they hope people will take away from it.
Boynton spent seven years of her life making the film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April, screened theatrically last year (unfortunately rendering it ineligible for Oscar consideration this year) and is now playing in select theaters across the nation.
It seems to be the hope of Boynton and Pitt — whose Plan B production company champions films of social value, such as this year’s best picture Oscar winner 12 Years a Slave — that Big Men will raise awareness and bring about reforms that will benefit the people of African nations who have heretofore rarely shared in the profits of the discoveries of oil within their borders.
Here is a transcript of our conversation.