Jesse Eisenberg is set to play legendary mime Marcel Marceau in Resistance, a film written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz that will focus on Marceau’s involvement in the French resistance during WWII. The film is said to be in the vein of Life Is Beautiful, where comedy is used as a tool for children to survive the most dramatic situations imaginable.
Claudine Jakubowicz and Carlos Garcia de Paredes produce and will put together the financing. Title is being set up as a European co-production and Baptiste Marceau, the mime’s oldest son, has been closing involved in the research of the film and will serve as an exec producer.
Marceau learned to mime to survive and to save the lives of Jewish orphans whose parents had just been killed by the Nazis. He was born Marcel Mangel and grew up speaking Yiddish as the son of a Kosher butcher from Strasbourg. His father was eventually killed in Auschwitz.
Most famous for his stage persona “Bip the Clown,” Marceau referred to mime as the “Art of Silence” and he performed professionally worldwide for more than 60 years. He gave his first major performance to 3,000 American troops of General Patton’s army after the liberation of Paris in August 1944. For his work in the French resistance, he was made Grand Officier de la Legion d’Honneur and was awarded the National Order of Merit in France.
As an artist, he won an Emmy, was elected member of the Academy Fine Arts in Berlin and was declared a national treasure in Japan. His long-time friend Michael Jackson credited Marceau as the original creator of the Moonwalk.
Eisenberg is no stranger to Marceau’s story. His mother worked as a professional clown and, like Marceau, he also comes from a family of Polish Jews. He’s starred in franchise hit Now You See Me and will next be seen as Lex Luthor in Justice League. He also starred in Woody Allen’s Café Society.
Jakubowicz’s latest film Hands of Stone, starring Robert De Niro and Edgar Ramirez, premiered in Cannes last year. His first novel The Adventures of Juan Planchard became a Spanish-language hit.
Resistance will shoot early 2018. CAA is packaging and repping the film.