Berlin-based sales company Picture Tree Intl. has boarded Robert Schwentke’s historical drama “Seneca – On the Creation of Earthquakes,” which has its world premiere in the Berlinale Special Gala section of the Berlin Film Festival. The teaser (below) for the film, which stars John Malkovich, Geraldine Chaplin, Tom Xander, “Dark’s” Louis Hofmann and Mary-Louise Parker, has been released.

The movie is a look at the relationship between Seneca and Nero, the infamous Roman Emperor he mentored since childhood, and who accused him of plotting his assassination.

As the foster father and mastermind of Nero, Seneca is instrumental in the rise of the self-indulgent young tyrant. The philosopher, known for his great speeches on renunciation and clemency, is himself one of the richest men in ancient Rome. But when one day the student tires of his teacher, Nero orders Seneca to kill himself. Is the latter ready for an honorable suicide, or is there still some time left for some philosophical debauchery and sharp-tongued lessons?

The screenplay for “Seneca” is by Schwentke and Matthew Wilder. Other cast include Lilith Stangenberg, Julian Sands, Alexander Fehling, Andrew Koi, Samuel Finzi and Wolfram Koch. The producers are Frieder Schlaich, Irene von Alberti and Annegret Weitkämper-Krug. The lead production company is Filmgalerie 451. The co-producers are Gretchen Film, Kasbah Films and ZDF/Arte.

Weltkino will release the film in Germany on March 23.

Schwentke is best known for “The Captain” (2017), which world premiered at Toronto Film Festival. Other credits include “RED” (2010), starring Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman; “The Time Traveler’s Wife” (2009), with Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams; and “Flightplan” (2005), with Jodie Foster. His most recent movie is last year’s “Snake Eyes,” starring Henry Golding.