Lantos set to make his ‘Statement’

Jewison to helm Serendipity pic about French war criminal

TORONTO — Academy Award-winning director and Toronto native Norman Jewison has committed to direct “The Statement,” based on Brian Moore’s novel, from a screenplay by Ronald Harwood. Robert Lantos (“The Sweet Hereafter”) will produce via his Toronto-based Serendipity Point Films.

The late Moore’s penultimate novel, “The Statement” is a suspenser centering on a French war criminal in hiding for over 40 years, secretly sheltered by both the Vatican and the French government. When his cover is blown, the net closes in, as this old man becomes a cause celebre.

A screenwriter as well, Moore’s novel “Black Robe” was made into a Lantos-produced, Bruce Beresford-helmed pic. Other Moore novels adapted for the screen are “The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne” and “The Luck of Ginger Coffey.” He penned the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Torn Curtain.”

Lantos said he has begun working with Jewison in shaping the Harwood adaptation. He praised Moore’s book. “It’s a terrific cat and mouse political thriller,” he told Daily Variety. “It’s about the complicity in covering up, at a very high level, a Nazi war criminal. But it applies to today as well. It contains something that truly matters in the world in which we live.”

Jewison is the recipient of the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. He was nominated three times for a directing Oscar. His credits include “The Russians Are Coming,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Agnes of God” and “Moonstruck.” He recently helmed “The Hurricane.”

Harwood’s screenwriting credits include “The Dresser,” for which he received an Academy Award nomination, Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist” and Istvan Szabo’s “Taking Sides.” Lantos produced “The Sweet Hereafter,” “Crush” and “Exotica.” His upcoming films include “Men with Brooms” and “Picture Claire,” currently screening at the Toronto International Film festival, with Juliette Lewis and Gina Gershon toplining.

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