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Joe Wright to Direct World War II Drama ‘In the Garden of Beasts’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Joe Wright is in final negotiations to direct an adaptation of “In the Garden of Beasts” for StudioCanal and Playtone Productions.

Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman will produce the pic through Playtone. The company optioned the rights to Erik Larson’s book in 2011, when it was originally set up at Universal before the studio let it go, allowing StudioCanal to board the film.

The book is based on the true story of William Dodd, a mild-mannered Chicago professor who becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany before the Nazis began to assert an iron grip across Europe. At first, his family embraces the vibrant scene in Berlin, but the ambassador soon learns of reports of violence against Jews. Even though his dispatches to the State Department are met with indifference, he continues to be concerned with the growing press censorship and the passage of shocking laws. It leads to the gradual realization of the horrific genocide that Hitler actually has planned.

Hanks has been loosely attached to play Dodd, but it’s unknown if he will still star or just produce the film.

Wright’s no stranger to World War II movies, having most recently helmed the Winston Churchill drama “Darkest Hour,” which earned Gary Oldman an Oscar for his portrayal of the former prime minister. Wright is currently in post-production on the highly anticipated adaptation of the New York Times bestseller “Woman in the Window,” which stars Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, and Oldman.

Wright is repped by CAA.

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