EXCLUSIVE: Peter Webber (Girl with a Pearl Earring) is set to direct The Pianist, Valkyrie and Indiana Jones 5 star Thomas Kretschmann in WWII movie The Prominents.
Set in the chaotic final days of World War II, the story follows a group of Nazi Germany’s most prominent prisoners as they are transported across Europe, out of Allied reach, to be used as bargaining chips in the German surrender. On their journey, they endure aerial attacks, collapsing bridges, partisan raids, and the escalating threat of liquidation by their Nazi captors.
Kretschmann will star as Bogislaw von Bonin, a German prisoner battling his own demons: complicity in the war’s atrocities and the drug abuse he uses to cope with it.
Hippolyte Girardot (The French Dispatch) and Irène Jacob (The Double Life of Veronique) will play French prime minister Leon Blum and his wife Janot, respectively. Valentina Cervi (Jane Eyre) is playing an Italian partisan fighter and fellow prisoner on the dangerous transport. Vinzenz Kiefer, Jakub Gierszal, and Andreas Lust round out the confirmed European ensemble, with additional cast still to be announced.
Production is set to begin September 2022 in Poland and wrap in northern Italy, where the actual events transpired.
Etchie Stroh’s L.A.-based Moonstone Entertainment is handling worldwide sales at the upcoming Cannes market. The film’s writer Shahar Stroh will produce with Etchie Stroh, Austrian co-producer Norbert Blecha, and Michael Mendelsohn.
Production companies are Metamorphozis Production, Strohberry Films, Blecha’s Terra Internationale Filmproduktionen, and Polish co-producer Stanislaw Dziedzic’s Film Produkcja, with Mendelsohn’s Union Patriot Capital Management providing financing.
Emperor and Hannibal Rising director Webber said: “This is not so much a war film as it is a film that takes place at the end of a war, a story set in the disaster and ruin of a failed attempt to build an empire. It is a film about defeat and survival, a story about fascism, a warning about the fate of those who embrace this evil ideology. In a world where these pernicious ideas are on the rise again, from populist politics to the horrors committed under the mark of the letter Z, this is a film that unflinchingly examines the darkness around us.”
Writer Stroh added: “The Prominents is a war movie in the sense that Apocalypse Now is a war movie. The real subject is the primeval darkness within human nature. I am thrilled that the script spoke to Peter Webber and to such an amazing ensemble of actors but saddened that the material remains so relevant today.”
Webber is repped by Andrew Cannava at UTA. Kretschmann is repped by APA’s Barry McPherson.
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