Author Loung Ung, who became an activist, wrote “First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers.”
It’s about her time as a child soldier during the regime’s bloody campaign in 1975. It resulted in the slaughter of more than 1 million people.
“It deepened forever my understanding of how children experience war and are affected by the emotional memory of it,” said Jolie in a statement.
“And [the book] helped me draw closer still to the people of Cambodia, my son’s homeland.”
Jolie, 40, adopted seven-month-old Maddox Chivan in 2002. He was living in an orphanage in Battambang, Cambodia. Jolie has also done work there in her role as a United Nations goodwill ambassador on behalf of refugees.
In 2011, she teamed with fashion brand Louis Vuitton, which featured her in a video strolling through a tropical rain forest in Cambodia.
Jolie posed barefoot, wearing her own clothes and little or no makeup aboard a traditional wooden boat in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province.
Famed photographer Annie Leibovitz was behind the lens. Four of six Jolie children reportedly accompanied her to Southeast Asia.
Jolie teamed with Ung to write the script and Maddox will have an as yet undefined role in the production, Netflix said in a statement.
Jolie has directed two other war movies.
“In the Land of Blood and Honey,” a 2011 film, focused on an unlikely love story between a Bosnian and a Serb during the brutal ethnic war in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995.
Last year, she directed the World War II epic “Unbroken,” based on the life of war hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini, an athlete in the 1936 Olympics. He was captured by the Japanese after spending weeks at sea and suffered brutal treatment as a prisoner of war.
“Films like this are hard to watch but important to see. They are also hard to get made. Netflix is making this possible,” Jolie said.
The film is expected to screen in 2016.