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Darkest Hour’s Joe Wright Directing WWII Film In the Garden of Beasts

Joe Wright, director of 2017’s acclaimed Darkest Hour, will tackle the big screen adaptation of WWII true story In the Garden of Beasts.

Darkest Hour's Joe Wright Directing WWII Film In the Garden of Beasts
Darkest Hour’s Joe Wright Directing WWII Film In the Garden of Beasts

Darkest Hour’s Joe Wright will be directing the WWII film, In the Garden of Beasts. Wright’s work has often focused on historical events or fallen under the period piece category of film, and he’s no stranger to adapting popular novels for the screen. Known most recently for his work on the Winston Churchill war drama Darkest Hour, (which landed Gary Oldman his first best actor Oscar), other notable films by Wright include Atonement and Hanna.

A film adaptation of author Erik Larson’s acclaimed true account of America’s first ambassador to Nazi Germany during Hitler’s rise has been in the works ever since the novel was first optioned in 2011. Universal had been hoping to make the film, but when their option lapsed without any significant momentum on their part, they moved on to other projects, at which point Studio Canal took over. Now the project appears to be up and running, with Tom Hanks producing and possibly signing on to play the film’s lead, William Dodd.

With the weight of Hollywood royalty like Hanks behind it, In the Garden of Beasts has taken the next logical step and hired its director. According to Variety, Wright is the man for the job, though at present there is no indication as to when production will begin. Wright is currently finishing up work on another well-received novel turned film, the psychological thriller, The Woman in the Window.

Darkest Hour's Joe Wright Directing WWII Film In the Garden of Beasts
Darkest Hour’s Joe Wright Directing WWII Film In the Garden of Beasts

In the early days of Germany’s Nazi regime, American professor William Dodd was assigned to a post in Berlin to serve as the USA’s ambassador to Germany. Taking his family with him in the move from Chicago to Berlin, Dodd soon began to witness first hand the brutality and sheer terror imposed by the newly elected Nazi regime. As Dodd’s frequent reports to the US State Department are continually overlooked, his daughter grows ever more devoted to the Nazi party and its promises of a racially pure society. Soon Dodd can no longer deny that what he’s witnessing will threaten the very fabric of German society and the entire free world, as we know it.

Over the years, WWII films have been hit and miss with critics and audiences alike. When they do find the right note, however, ample room for critical acclaim and awards are instantly afforded. A well-made Nazi-era war film has the definite potential to capture audience’s hearts and minds, particularly one with a strong cast and director. It may still be early days for the production, but the confirmed addition of Joe Wright, as well as potentially gaining Hanks in the film’s lead role bodes well for In the Garden of Beasts and its somewhat lengthy road to the big screen.

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