After first being mooted here in Cannes three years ago, Beta Film’s 10-part Adolf Hitler miniseries is getting closer to production. France’s TF1 has come aboard the project (working title: Hitler) which is being developed with UFA Fiction in co-production with Beta Film for Germany’s RTL. Generation War‘s Benjamin Benedict and Joachim Kosack are producing.
Based on historian Thomas Weber’s book Hitler’s First War, it aims to shed unprecedented light on one of history’s most hated and closely-examined figures. Each episode concentrates on one chapter in his rise to power, from the end of World War I to WWII and the atrocities of the Holocaust. Using previously unseen documents from the List Regiment, in which Hitler served during the First World War, the series will look at his personality and how he was shaped into what he became.
The series is currently in pre-production with an aim to begin filming in 2016. It is being developed in German and is expected to star major local talent. Niki Stein and Hark Bohm are scripting.
Weber, who is collaborating with the filmmakers, was in Cannes this evening to speak about the project. He said, “We know the Hitler that Nazi propaganda wanted to tell us. We know the raging propaganda, but we don’t know the Hitler behind. This is a discussion of who Hitler really was.” Asked whether there was concern that such a project might humanize him, Weber said, “There is a danger that empathy could translate into sympathy. We are very aware of the problem. But if you think of how much Hitler still impacts the world today, it is a challenge that is worth undertaking.”
Benedict and Kosack commented that they are striving to take the historical miniseries to a new level. “We want to create awareness and encouorage a discussion with more relevance to our present times than it may appear at first glance.” The pair call Hitler “a courageous confrontation with the past.”