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Miramax books Auschwitz tale

Heyday to produce 'Boy in the Striped Pajamas'

Miramax Films is ramping up “Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” the tale of a German family living in the town of Auschwitz based on John Boyne’s tome, and set it up with David Heyman’s Heyday Films to produce. Vera Farmiga (“The Departed”) will star.

Filmmaker Mark Herman (“Little Voices”) is set to begin lensing in Budapest at the end of April, with Miramax topper Daniel Battsek eying an end-of-the-year awards run. Herman wrote the adapted screenplay.

It’s only the second inhouse production solely owned by Miramax that Battsek has greenlit after “Gone, Baby, Gone,” Ben Affleck’s directorial debut.

Boyne’s novel, published last year, revolves around a German family that relocates to the town of Auschwitz after the father takes a posting ordered by Hitler himself, with an unlikely friendship developing between two boys living on opposite sides of the concentration camp fence. Farmiga will play the wife and mother, who grows horrified when she begins to suspect the truth of the camp.

Battsek said the story is really an allegory that looks at the mechanics between parents and children as a family comes under intense pressure.

“Although it takes place during WWII, it is entirely relevant today, as it deals with the innocence of children living in a world of prejudice and the tragic consequences that we see every day,” Battsek told Daily Variety.

Project was brought in by senior VP of international development and acquisitions Kristin Jones and developed with Heyday, producer of the “Harry Potter” franchise, and Herman.

This summer, Farmiga (“The Departed”) stars opposite Sam Rockwell in “Joshua,” which Fox Searchlight bought earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

Heyday is next in theaters with this summer’s “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.” Company is also producing Will Smith starrer “I Am Legend” for Warners.

Miramax’s upcoming release slate includes “The Lookout,” “The Hoax” and “The Golden Door.” Affleck’s “Gone, Baby, Gone” opens in September.

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