“Hands of Stone” producers Jay Weisleder and Ben Silverman are developing a biopic on Viktor Frankl, the Holocaust survivor who wrote “Man’s Search for Meaning.”
Weisleder and Silverman are developing the project — called “The Search” — through their Fuego Films banner. Adam Gibgot has written the script about the unique relationship Frankl developed with Jerry Long, a former baseball prodigy, through a correspondence that began in the early 1980s.
Frankl’s grandson Alexander Vesely and Gibgot are producing, and Viktor Frankl Estate representative Mary Cimiluca is also involved as an exec producer. Film financiers Allan, Ariel, and Adrian Kader will also executive produce, along with Sammy Weisleder, who helped secure the financing. Michael Berenbaum, founding director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, will co-exec produce as well as consult.
Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice as a neurologist and psychiatrist, Frankl argued that we cannot avoid suffering, but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.
Frankl went on to write 39 books before his death in 1997. Gibgot said “The Search” will focus mainly on the years following Frankl’s liberation.
“Doctor Viktor Frankl was a true visionary and pioneer in so many ways,” Gibgot said. “At a time when meaning in life is on everyone’s mind, it is an honor for us to work so closely with Alex and the Frankl estate to tell this story of extreme generosity and triumph of the human spirit. Viktor Frankl’s work has touched millions of lives, but our story is about how this transcendent man took the time to touch just one life.”
The producers have also optioned the life rights of Eleonore Frankl, the author’s widow.
Gibgot first teamed with Silverman on the mystery “The Accidental Genius” for Warner Bros. He is repped by WME.
Straight Up Films recently acquired the movie rights to “Man’s Search for Meaning.”