EXCLUSIVE: Production is underway in Berlin on Netflix Original mini-series Unorthodox, which will star Shira Haas (The Zookeeper’s Wife) and be directed by actor-filmmaker Maria Schrader (Deutschland 83).
The Yiddish and English-language four-part mini-series, executive produced by Deutschland 83/86 creator Anna Winger, will see Haas star as a young woman who leaves an arranged marriage in New York and sets out on her own to Berlin. The story is inspired by Deborah Feldman’s bestselling memoir of a young Jewish woman’s escape from a religious sect. Also starring are Jeff Wilbusch (Little Drummer Girl) and Amit Rahav (Dig).
Feldman’s novel has been adapted for screen by Winger and Alexa Karolinski (Oma & Bella). Eli Rosen of the New Yiddish Repertory Theater in New York is translating. The series is produced by Anna Winger’s Studio Airlift, Henning Kamm at REAL FILM Berlin. It marks the first project out of the gate for Winger’s recently launched outfit.
Haas, who also starred in hit Israeli series Shtisel about the Orthodox community, said of her role, “I am beyond excited to take part in this unique and beautifully written TV series about a strong woman trying to find her voice against all odds.”
Wilbusch commented, “Almost 20 years after leaving the community myself, I’m playing an ultra-orthodox character here for the first time and speaking my native Yiddish on screen. Unorthodox is a special challenge for me and a chance to confront my past. I’m thankful and excited to be part of this beautiful project.”
Schrader, whose feature Stefan Zweig: Farewell To Europe won the European Film Awards Audience prize in 2017, added, “Unorthodox explores female emancipation, identity and sexuality through the prism of a unique young woman’s experience.”
Rachel Eggebeen, Director of Netflix International Originals, said of the production, “Unorthodox stands for Netflix’s approach to touch the hearts of a global audience with a very specific and local story. It’s amazing to see how much love for detail and authenticity is going into this unique project.”
Netflix, which has had major success with German Original series Dark, is building a substantial slate of German dramas including showrunner-director Christian Ditter’s thriller Biohackers, The Tribes Of Europa, The Barbarians, How To Sell Drugs Online (Fast) and Skylines.
Haas is repped by Zohar Yakobson in Israel and Abrams Artists Agency in the U.S., and managed by Echo Lake Entertainment.