Director Joe Wright has signed on to direct an adaptation of Erik Larson‘s 2011 non-fiction novel In The Garden Of Beasts. The book is based on the true story of William Dodd, a Chicago professor who becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany before the Nazis began to assert an iron grip across Europe.
At first, his family embraces the vibrant scene in Berlin, but the ambassador soon learns of reports of violence against Jews. His dispatches to the State Department are met with indifference, and his concern grows thanks to new press censorship and the passage of shocking laws. It leads to the realisation of the horrific genocide that Hitler actually has planned.
Tom Hanks will produce the film through his Playtone banner, and is currently loosely attached to play Dodd. He has been on board for a while, since at least 2012 when the project was going to be directed by Michael Hazanavicius (The Artist).
Wright is probably a better choice though, as he’s previously helmed two very successful World War II films – Atonement and Darkest Hour. Although this story takes place in the time slightly before the war, those previous experiences should still help him craft a better film.
The book is obviously very relevant to the current climate, since it focuses on the rise of fascism, juxtaposed against a backdrop of indifference from society.
With Wright having just led Gary Oldman to an Academy Award Best Actor win with Darkest Hour – another film that briefly focused on the passive reaction to Hitler’s rise – this will likely be a very in-demand project for actors. We’ll wait and see if Hanks remains on board.
Until then, Wright is finishing up post-production work on an adaptation of The Woman In The Window, which will star Amy Adams and Julianne Moore.
The film hits cinemas Friday, October 4.