Oscar-nommed thesps Willem Dafoe and Haley Joel Osment are set to star in “Edges of the Lord” for writer and director Yurek Bogayevicz.
Pic, produced by Zev Braun (Oscar nominee for the 1984 docu “Marlene” and for 1973’s “The Pedestrian,” which also won the Golden Globe for foreign-language film) and Philip Krupp, begins shooting in Poland on May 5 for eight weeks. Film is budgeted at about $7.5 million, with funding coming from Millennium Films.
“Edges” is a WWII drama seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old Jewish boy (Osment) who’s hiding with a family of Catholic peasant farmers to escape the Nazis. Dafoe takes the role of an eccentric but understanding priest who guides the ravaged community’s children through a series of humorous and tragic events that come to a shattering conclusion when faith collides with fear.
Bogayevicz previously helmed “Three of Hearts” and “Anna.” His “Edges” script draws on some of his own experiences growing up in Poland.
“It’s not a typical Holocaust movie,” said producer Braun. “Most of it takes place between the Jewish kid and the peasants who are protecting him. The Nazis are less involved.” Braun also noted that Osment was raised Catholic and plays a Jew posing as a Catholic in the film.
Osment grabbed an Oscar nom for last year’s “The Sixth Sense.” He’s also shooting “A.I.” for director Steven Spielberg later in the year.
Dafoe was nominated for “Platoon.” He has “American Psycho” in theaters now; coming later this year is “Shadow of the Vampire,” in which he plays the actor Max Schreck during the shooting of the 1922 bloodsucker pic “Nosferatu.”
Millennium’s Avi Lerner, Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short and Boaz Davidson are exec producing. No distribution rights have yet been sold. International sales are being handled by Millennium’s sister company, Nu Image.
Millennium, which together with Nu Image makes about 15 films a year, produced “Guinevere” and “Shadrach” and will be showing the Kenneth Branagh/Robin Wright Penn starrer “How to Kill Your Neighbor’s Dog” at Cannes next month.
Dafoe is repped by the William Morris Agency and Phyllis Carlyle of Carlyle Management. Osment is repped by Meredith Fine of Coast to Coast Talent Group and Bill Sobel of Edelstein, Laird & Sobel.
Producers Braun and Krupp were repped in the deal by Michael Sherman of Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro. Jason Frankel of Barab, Kline & Coate handled negotiations for Millennium.