It has been a decade since filmmaker Oliver Hirschbiegel arrived with “Downfall,” with the film meme-generating, critically acclaimed film, instantly putting him on the map. But he’s struggled to maintain that success. “The Invasion” saw the director and studio at odds, “Five Minutes In Heaven” was an intimate thriller that didn’t catch on, while last year’s “Diana” was simply a disaster. So he’s returning to WWII for another tale about Hitler.
Hirschbiegel is now in production on “George Elser,” following the man “from his early years in the Swabian Alps—when National Socialism arrived in his hometown—to his last days at the Dachau concentration camp, where he was killed shortly before the end of the war at the command of the one whom he himself wanted to kill, Hitler.” And if there’s one reason to be excited for this, it’s that Christian Friedel, the lead in Michael Haneke‘s excellent “The White Ribbon,” has the title role here. Katharina Schüttler and Burghart Klaussner round out the lead cast, with the film set to shoot until September, with an April 2, 2015 release date slated for Germany — the 70th anniversary of Elser’s death at Dachau. [Screen Daily]
Fedor Bondarchuk (“Stalingrad“) has been tapped to direct “Odysseus” for Warner Bros. Apparently, the studio believes the kids will love a big screen take on Homer‘s poem, promising a “large-scale epic,” with Jeremy Doner (“The Killing,” “Damages,” “Heartbreaker“) to pen the script. [Deadline]
Michael Caton-Jones (“Rob Roy,” “The Jackal“) will get behind the camera for “Urban Hymn.” The on-the-nose-titled movie will be a coming-of-age tale, about “a neglected and wayward teen, Jamie, who possesses an amazing singing voice and is torn between her loyalties toward her inspiring, unconventional care worker, Kate, and her possessive and volatile best friend, Leanne.” Production will start in September.