Well this is certainly a fascinating story for the big screen, and one that is also incredibly bleak. Vulture is reporting that Brad Pitt and his Plan B production outfit are developing a feature film based on the 2001 New York Times Best Seller “IBM and the Holocaust,” by Edwin Black. The book chronicles the efforts of IBM’s then-chief executive Thomas Watson, who formed an alliance with the Nazis and facilitated the Holocaust by implementing a series of punch cards based on national census data. Ah, the genius of evil.
According to the Vulture story, Pitt has been working on the project at HBO since at least the beginning of the year, using a script by Marcus Hinchey (who wrote the Ryan Gosling true crime movie “All Good Things“). Recently, though, the project has moved on from HBO and the production company is currently shopping it to other television networks or, as they say, “increasingly likely,” it will end up as a big time theatrical feature. Pitt is supposedly attaching himself to the project as a star to lure directorial talent, although he might not end up being in the movie when all is said and done.
This is an absolutely fascinating story, and while we haven’t read the book, we really, really want to now. Vulture draws a comparison to “Moneyball,” in a similar application of facts-and-figures to something long held to have mysterious properties (instead of baseball, though, it’s the Holocaust). In sorting out just how these people were identified and rounded up, it might demystify the horribleness of the crime without draining it of its power. We imagine the current folks that run IBM aren’t too thrilled about their company’s dirty laundry being aired so publicly (again), but hey, when your company helped exterminate 6 million Jews, it’s kind of a hard thing to run away from.
No timetable has been set for “IBM and the Holocaust” (which we expect to change title at some stage, given that it might have the single least inviting title in movie history), but we expect the basic building blocks for this fascinating project be in place by the end of the year. And, once Pitt wraps on reshoots for the long-delayed “World War Z,” he doesn’t have anything firm lined up, uncharacteristically, so this could even turn out to be his next project.