French director Patrice Leconte (“The Widow of St. Pierre”) will direct Rebecca Hall in “A Promise,” his first English language film. The romantic drama, set in Germany just prior to World War I, is adapted from Stefan Zweig’s novella “Journey to the Past.” The story follows a woman married to a wealthy older man who falls in love with her husband’s teacher. (Check out Publishers Weekly’s synopsis below.)
Leconte tells Variety: “‘A Promise’ is an intimate, troubling and compelling love story that delves into the lasting power of passion.” He adds: “Zweig’s darker spirit fits me well.” Casting is underway for the male lead, and the film is set to shoot this fall. Here’s more.
Hall (“The Town,” “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “The Prestige”) also stars in “The Awakening” (August 10), Stephen Frears’ “Lay The Favorite” (release TBC) and is currently shooting “Iron Man 3” with Robert Downey Jr.
Zweig’s (1881–1942) gorgeous and sad novella spotlights the hopeless passion between a young man and his employer’s wife. Ludwig, an ambitious young man from an impoverished background, finds employment with a famous industrialist in Frankfurt-am-Main and is eventually pressed into service as the industrialist’s private secretary, living in his house, where he befriends his boss’s radiant, sympathetic wife and finds in her an artistic kinship. A passion develops, cut short by the exigencies of the metals business, then by the eruption of WWI, and the two, despite the intervening years and Ludwig’s own marriage, eventually embark on an overnight trip together. Moving back and forth through time, Zweig pursues the couple to their destination, where they are confronted by a military demonstration that bludgeons their fragile memories with the cold, crass present. Bell’s faultless translation easily conveys the smoldering engine of Zweig’s writhing inner consciousness.