THE ARTIST Director Michel Hazanavicius Set to Direct WILL Next; Will Follow up with IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS Starring Tom Hanks

     May 16, 2014


Over a year ago, we reported that The Artist director Michel Hazanavicius was on board to direct Will, a film that’s been in development for over four years.  The script, written by actor/comedian Demetri Martin, is set in a world where heavenly scribes write everyone’s destinies, and Paul Rudd plays a man whose angelic writer Will (Zach Galafinakis) quits, thus forcing him to follow his own path without guidance from above.  Rather than moving straight to this project, Hazanavicius decided to make The Search his follow-up to The Artist.  The movie stars centers on a Chechen NGO worker, played by The Artist’s Berenice Bejo, and a young boy whom she befriends.  The movie is current playing at Cannes, and at the festival Hazanavicius told Variety he intends to make Will his next picture, and that he plans to start filming at the end of this year or in early 2015.

Hit the jump for more including an update on Hazanavicius’ adaptation of the non-fiction book In the Garden of Beasts.

in-the-garden-of-beasts book coverHazanavicius tells Variety that after he finishes Will, he will likely move on to adapt In the Garden of BeastsErik Larson‘s gripping book tells the story of William E. Dodd, American ambassador to Hitler’s Germany, and his daughter Martha as they witness the rise of the Third Reich and the horrors it inflicts upon the populace.  It’s a fascinating book as it tells the perspectives of one person who tries to emphasize the growing terror around him and another who’s willing to ignore it, a story that remains relevant today.

A couple years ago, Tom Hanks picked up the rights to the book with an eye to star as Dodd, and once Hazanavicius came on board in September of 2012, there was word that Natalie Portman was in talks to play Martha.  According to Variety, Portman is still considering the role, and Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) is expected to write a treatment of the adaptation.

Here’s the official synopsis for Erik Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts (I highly recommend reading the book):

William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Nazi Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.

A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance—and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.

Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming–yet wholly sinister–Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror. [Amazon]

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