Haley Bennett, who gained acclaim for “The Girl on the Train” and “The Magnificent Seven,” and German star Matthias Schweighoefer are in talks to take key lead roles in writer/director Jonathan Jakubowicz’s “Resistance,” alongside Jesse Eisenberg.
The movie follows the life of mime artist Marcel Marceau (played by Eisenberg) and his involvement in the French Resistance during WWII. Bennett will star as Emma, a Resistance fighter who played a vital role in inspiring Marceau to join her in rescuing thousands of children and walking them out of France and into Switzerland. Schweighoefer will play notorious SS commander Klaus Barbie, who was personally assigned by Adolf Hitler to dismantle the French Resistance, and reserved a particular hatred for the orphans Marceau and his group were taking to safety.
Claudine Jakubowicz, Carlos Garcia de Paredes and Dan Maag will produce the film. Rocket Science, who is co-financing and producing the project with Pantaleon Films and producing with Epicentral, is handling the international sales at EFM, with CAA repping domestic rights. Warner Bros. will release in Germany. Principal photography is set to commence in the fall.
Bennett recently wrapped “The Red Sea Diving Resort” alongside Chris Evans. Schweighoefer, one of Germany’s most successful actors, starred in local smash hits “The Manny” and “Joys of Fatherhood,” and recently wrapped Thomas Vinterberg’s “Kursk,” alongside Colin Firth and Matthias Schoenhaerts.
Jakubowicz said: “Haley is a true artist, a force of nature who immediately understood the character I wrote better than I ever could. ‘Emma’ is the reason the lives of hundreds of children were saved. I cannot wait to capture the fury of Haley’s beautiful soul embodying the heroism of the French Resistance.”
Regarding Schweighoefer, he said: “High-profile Nazis are often portrayed as one dimensional psychopaths. But Klaus Barbie is complex and systematic, and so convinced he’s doing the right thing, he enjoys every part of it. To see his cruelty blend with the immensely charismatic power of Matthias, will shake audiences to their bones and leave them with his horrors forever. Nothing is more powerful than realizing that true evil is human.”
Bennett is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content. Schweighoefer is repped by Players Agentur Management.