PARIS — In the run-up to the AFM, The Weinstein Company has acquired U.S. rights to Nazi-era thriller “HHhH” with Jason Clarke (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”) and Jack O’Connell (“Unbroken”). Mia Wasikowska (“Maps to the Stars”) and Jack Reynor (“Glassland”) complete the cast.
Directed by French up-and-comer Cedric Jimenez (“The Connection”) and based on Laurent Binet’s eponymous international bestseller that won the prestigious Goncourt prize for a first novel, “HHhH” is a WWII-set drama depicting the meteoric rise and fall of Reinhard Heydrich, the most lethal man in Hitler’s cabinet, in Nazi Germany.
An acronym for “Himmlers Hirn Heisst Heydrich” (“Himmler’s Brain Is Called Heydrich”), “HHhH” stars Clarke as Heydrich, who seemed indestructible until two exiled operatives, a Slovak and a Czech, killed him in 1942 and changed the course of history. “HHhH” chronicles the journey of Jozef Gabcík and Jan Kubiš from their dramatic escape from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia to their fatal attack on Heydrich. Pike plays Lina Heydrich, an aristocrat who was married to Heydrich and reportedly introduced her husband to the Nazi ideology.
Ranking as one of Europe’s hottest film projects, “HHhH” is being produced by leading French producer Alain Goldman (“La Vie en Rose,” “The Connection”) at Legende Films, which now has offices in Los Angeles as well as in Paris, and Daniel Crown for Red Crown (“Beasts of No Nation”)
Popular on Variety
David Farr, whose screenwriting credits include “Hanna” and “The Night Manager” penned the adaptation with Audrey Diwan (“The Connection”) and Jimenez.
“Laurent Binet’s novel was an impeccable, profoundly gripping piece of historical fiction that was destined to be made into a film,” said TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein. “It’s in the hands of an extraordinarily intelligent, bold group of filmmakers and actors and we can’t wait to see it come to life.”
Goldman said Harvey Weinstein was the ideal U.S. partner for this movie. “We’re very proud and happy to be working with Harvey on this film because he has wonderful tastes and is known for making brilliant choices. The fact that he’s chosen this film underscores the quality and uniqueness of it,” noted Goldman.
“On top of its attractive cast, the movie is co-written and directed by the team behind ‘The Connection,’ it centers around a riveting historical figure which hasn’t been overly exploited in movies, it has a contemporary resonance and an original narrative structure that isn’t chronological,” added Goldman.
“HHhH” is the first project developed jointly by Legende’s Paris and Los Angeles offices.
The deal for “HHhH” was negotiated by Dan Guando, Michal Podell Steinberg and James Gold for TWC with WME and Goldman.
Stephane Celerier’s Mars Films, which was just partly-acquired by Vivendi (Studiocanal’s parent company), will distribute “HHhH” in France. Mars Films handles most of the high-profile American indies and French hits.
Glen Basner’s FilmNation handles “HHhH”‘s international sales (outside of the U.S. and France) and has so far pre-sold approximately 80% of the world, per Goldman.
Principal photography kicked off early September in Budapest.