EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a hot international project cooking up at the moment: Brit production powerhouse Working Title is in talks with Paul Dano to star in its new European hitman feature The Englishman, with Deutschland ’83 helmer Edward Berger attached to direct.
The project is developed from a spec script by Luke Garrett and is set in the shadowy underworld of the Stasi, East Germany’s infamous Ministry for State Security, captured memorably in 2006’s The Lives of Others.
I’m hearing Working Title is positioning this as much more of a thriller, with Dano likely to play an ambitious young Stasi officer who is handed his chance to advance within the system by unmasking The Englishman, a peerless assassin whose identity is unknown to even those who hire him. Working Title co-heads Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing with Lucas Webb overseeing the project. They are currently out to further cast.
German director Berger would seem a perfect fit for this project, given the recent success he had in recreating 1980s Germany in the breakout hit TV show Deutschland ’83. The show, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year, was the first German-language drama to be broadcast on a U.S. TV network after it was picked up by AMC and Sundance TV. The coming-of-age story, set against the backdrop of a cultural and politically fractured 1980s Germany, opened to rave reviews and was recently renewed for a second series.
Berger is currently shooting a pilot for AMC and Scott Free called The Terror, a new scripted anthology series based on the bestselling novel by Dan Simmons.
Dano, meanwhile, is currently directing his feature debut, Wildlife, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan, which FilmNation was shopping to buyers at AFM last month.
Working Title is now in post production on Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, with Lily James, Tomas Alfredson’s The Snowman, based on the hit novel by Jo Nesbo, and Stephen Frears’ Victoria and Abdul. It is currently shooting Winston Churchill epic drama Darkest Hour and Entebbe, starring Rosamund Pike and Daniel Bruhl.
Dano is repped by WME and Anonymous Content.
Berger is repped by ICM and Anonymous Content in the U.S., Casarotto Ramsay & Associates in the U.K. and Die Agenten in Germany.
Garrett is repped by ICM in the U.S. and United Agents in the UK.