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LONDON — Oscar winner Christoph Waltz will star as former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev opposite two-time Oscar winner Michael Douglas as ex-U.S. president Ronald Reagan, in Mike Newell‘s Reykjavik.
The movie, to be produced by Headline Pictures, Scott Free Productions, Participant Media and Mark Sennet Productions, centers on the now famous meeting in 1986 between Reagan and Gorbachev in Iceland that signaled the end of the Cold War.
“I feel very fortunate to have two such masters to portray the men who brought about the end of the third great war of the 20 Century. Reagan and Gorbachev were two of the most significant politicians and individuals of their times,” said Newell. “I’m very excited to see how each of these great actors gets to grips with their role as the history-changing giants we remember them to have been.”
The production is slated to start in March 2013 on location in Reykjavik and Studio Babelsberg and will be based on the screenplay penned by Kevin Hood (Becoming Jane).
London’s HanWay Films is handling international sales and will introduce the project to buyers at the American Film Market.
Hood’s script details the story a meeting under the imposing threat of nuclear war between the two world leaders which, at the time, was seen as a last chance opportunity to avoid conflict.
Both leaders struggled to find a way forward until talks collapsed. But the character and conviction that each man revealed to the other ultimately paved the way for peace and formed a lasting friendship between them.
“This is a moment in history where two world leaders with fundamentally opposing beliefs held the future of the world in their hands”, said Headline Pictures president Stewart Mackinnon.
“They controlled nuclear arsenals which had the capability to destroy the world many times over but despite this, put the needs of humanity before their ideology and agreed to end the nuclear arms race. Informed by deeply-held private beliefs Reagan and Gorbachev reached an understanding that we can still draw lessons from today.”
Added filmmaker Ridley Scott, wearing his hat as Scott Free president: “The film will offer the viewer a unique look into two larger than life figures – Reagan and Gorbachev – who served as the catalysts for one of the most defining moments in our history, the end of the cold war.”
Scott said he was excited “not only by the story and the incredible cast” but also by the “larger issue this film tackles that impacts all of us – non-proliferation and the abolishment of nuclear weapons.”
Joining the project as executive producers are Jere Sullivan, vice chairman of international public affairs for Edelman, the world’s largest communications firm and Ken Adelman, foreign policy expert and part of the negotiating team for Reagan in Reykjavik.
Waltz received Academy, SAG, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Festival de Cannes nods for his portrayal of Nazi colonel Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglorious Bastards.
He will next be seen in Django Unchained, a role Tarantino wrote for him.
Douglas most recently portrayed Liberace in Behind the Candelabra with Matt Damon, directed by Steven Soderbergh for HBO Films.
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Academy Museum of Motion Pictures