John Malkovich has signed on to star in Siberian Education, an adaptation of the Nicolai Lilin autobiography of the same name. Lilin grew up in Transnitria, a lawless community between Moldova and Ukraine that still maintains a strict moral code. According to Variety, Malkovich will play “Grandfather Kuzja, who teaches his grandson Kolyma (played by Lithuanian actor Arnas Fedaravicius) the morals of “honest criminals.'”
Stefano Rulli, Sandro Petraglia, and director Gabriele Salvatores (I’m Not Scared) collaborated on the screenplay, set in 1985-1995. The international production starts shooting in Lithuania at the end of August — a few scenes will film in Italy. Read the book synopsis after the break.
In a contested, lawless region between Moldova and Ukraine known as Transnistria, a tightly knit group of “honest criminals”—exiled there by Stalin-live according to strict codes of ritualized respect and fierce loyalty. Here, tattoos tell the story of a man’s life, “honest” weapons are separated from “sinful” ones, and authority is always to be distrusted. Beyond the control of any government and outside the bounds of “society” as we know it, these men uphold values including respect for elders and an unwavering adherence to the truth with passion-and often by brute force.
In a voice utterly compelling and unforgettable, Nicolai Lilin, born and raised within this exotic subculture, tells the story of his moral education among the Siberian Urkas. [Amazon]
For whatever reason, Rounders is a movie I’ve never seen, despite many cable rerun opportunities. But I know all about Malkovich’s flamboyant Russian accent in the film. The speech in the clip below (may contain spoilers) sounds great to my ears for Grandfather Kuzja.