EXCLUSIVE: Sexy Beast and Under The Skin director Jonathan Glazer is edging towards the starting line on his anticipated next movie, a Holocaust drama which we hear will shoot next year in Poland.
Studio A24, UK financier-producer Film4, Len Blavatnik’s financier Access Entertainment and producers James ‘Jim’ Wilson (You Were Never Really Here) and Ewa Puszczyńska (Cold War) are teaming up to make the feature, which we understand is currently untitled. House Productions, co-led by Tessa Ross, is executive-producing as part of the film’s investment from Access, which is run by former BBC exec Danny Cohen.
Glazer projects are often long-gestating and shrouded in secrecy and none of the partners were available to confirm with us, but this is what we know.
I hear the project is loosely inspired by acclaimed British author Martin Amis’s novel The Zone Of Interest, set in Auschwitz. The well-received 2014 novel tells the story of a Nazi officer who has become enamored with the camp commandant’s wife. The story is conveyed by three narrators: Angelus Thomsen, the officer; Paul Doll, the commandant; and Szmul Zacharias, a Jewish Sonderkommando. Cast has yet to be set.
Speaking on a film podcast last summer, auteur filmmaker Glazer, who does little press, confirmed that he was working on a Holocaust movie set in the Nazi concentration camp. The director, who himself is Jewish, said he remembered, as a child, looking at pictures from World War II, and being shocked by certain imagery. “I remember being very taken by the faces of the bystanders, the onlookers, the complicit, you know? Ordinary Germans,” he said.
“I started wondering how it would be possible to stand by and watch that. Some of the faces actually enjoy it. The spectacle of it. The kinda circus of it,” he continued.
During the interview, Glazer said that Auschwitz was more than just a setting for the project. “A lot of the stories I’ve seen, I do sometimes think they could be set anywhere actually. As soon as you define a plot, you’re sort of somehow relegating Auschwitz as a place and it becomes a context. For me, I don’t want to do that. I just felt that was wrong.”
The meticulous filmmaker has spent the last five-six years working on the project, which reunites him with his Under The Skin U.S. distributor A24, producer Wilson and UK broadcaster Film4, which also backed Glazer’s cult debut Sexy Beast. House’s Tessa Ross was a champion of Glazer and Under The Skin when she led Film4. Puszczyńska is well known for arthouse hits Ida, which won the foreign language Oscar, and multi-Oscar nominee Cold War.
The director’s striking and lauded 2013 sci-fi-drama Under The Skin, about a mysterious young woman who seduces lonely men in the evening hours in Scotland, starred Scarlett Johansson and played at festivals including Telluride, Venice and Toronto.