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Watchman star Jeremy Irons, 1917 actor George McKay and German up-and-comer Jannis Niehwöhner (Netflix’s Mute) have signed on to star in Netflix’s Munich, a feature adaptation of the Robert Harris bestseller.
The spy thriller is set in fall 1938 as Europe stands on the brink of World War II. As Adolf Hilter prepares to invade Czechoslovakia, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (Irons) is desperate to find a peaceful solution. British civil servant Hugh Legat (McKay) and German diplomat Paul von Hartmann (Niehwöhner), travel to Munich for an emergency conference. As they see if war can be averted — and at what cost — the two old friends find themselves at the center of a political plot, with their own lives in danger.
Christian Schwochow (Bad Banks, The Crown) is directing from a script by Ben Power (The Hollow Crown), who adapted Harris’ book. Andrew Eaton, a producer on The Crown, is producing Munich through Turbine Studios. Munich is currently shooting for a planned 2021 release.
The film’s British-German cast also includes Liv Lisa Fries (Babylon Berlin), Erin Doherty (The Crown), Sandra Hüller (Toni Erdmann), August Diehl (A Hidden Life), Robert Bathurst (Downton Abbey), and Marc Limpach (Bad Banks). Martin Wuttke, who had a cameo as Hitler in Quentin Tarrantino’s Inglourious Basterds, will again take on the role of the Nazi leader in the Netflix feature.
Munich is one of a growing slate of high-end European features that Netflix has commissioned since bringing on former STX executive David Kosse last year to head up its international film division. Other European features currently shooting including Paolo Sorrentino’s Naples-Set Hand of God in Italy, French sci-fi comedy Big Bug from Amelie director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and musical romance We Were Songs (Fuimos canciones) from Spanish director Juana Macías (Plans for Tomorrow).
“Munich is emblematic of the kind of movie the group has been looking to make since I joined,” Kosse told The Hollywood Reporter. “They are European-set, multilingual films that feature a strong cast, strong directors, intellectual property that has some value across territories. We are looking to create movies of a certain scale out of Europe that can travel.”
Kosse noted that Netflix has seen a growing interest in non-English-language features on its service, pointing to The Platform, Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s high-concept Spanish horror title, which was a top 10 performer for the streamer in multiple territories worldwide.
“I think it shows a lot more people around the world are interested in seeing these stories than maybe had access to them in the past through the traditional theatrical infrastructure,” Kosse said.
Other European features on Kosse’s slate, which have already wrapped production include French action-comedy The Last Mercenary, featuring “the muscles from Brussels” Jean-Claude Van Damme, the survival thriller O2 from Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes), starring Mélanie Laurent and Mathieu Amalric, and Italian comedy Rose Island, which bows on Netflix on Dec. 9.
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