Daniel Radcliffe has signed on to star in an update on the World War I tale All Quiet on the Western Front, though not anytime soon. Following a decade spent on various Harry Potter sets, Radcliffe will spend most of 2011 in the Broadway production How to Succeed Without Really Trying, with Western Front scheduled for a spring 2012 production.
Author Erich Maria Remarque created the character — young German soldier Paul Banner — earmarked for Radcliffe in his 1929 novel, which director Lewis Milestone adapted for cinemas the following year; the film went on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. More after the jump:
Producer Ian Stokell, who co-wrote the script with fellow producer Lesley Paterson, remarked on Radcliffe’s suitability for the role:
“Daniel brings a vulnerability and innocence to Paul. When we realized how much he loved the script we were really excited because we know he can tap into the delicate balance between intensity and believability that is critical for this demanding role.” [Boffo]
Milestone’s adaptation holds up really well, so I’m not sure Western Front really needs a modernization. Still, Remarque’s perspective is powerful, so I can see why Stokell and Paterson were so compelled.
I admire the patience, too, in waiting nearly two years for Radcliffe’s schedule to clear to begin production. Radcliffe is probably worth waiting for, if only by virtue of his youth and ability to personify innocence. You can next catch such prowess in the penultimate chapter of the wizarding series that showcased it to millions starting November 19th, when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I hits theaters.
Here’s a synopsis for Remarque’s novel:
Paul Baumer enlisted with his classmates in the German army of World War I. Youthful, enthusiastic, they become soldiers. But despite what they have learned, they break into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches.
And as horrible war plods on year after year, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principles of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against each other–if only he can come out of the war alive.