'Operation Finale' Director Says Film Became "More and More Timely" During Production

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From left: Jonathan Glickman, Oscar Isaac, Ben Kingsley, Chris Weitz and Melanie Laurent

“I think the film became more and more timely during the making of it,” Chris Weitz said of his latest film, which is centered on a post-WWII Nazi hunter.

History has a way of repeating itself. At least that was the murmur on the Lincoln Center red carpet at Thursday night’s New York premiere of Operation Finale

Set during the post-World War II period, the based-on-a-true-story film details Mossad agent Peter Malkin’s (Oscar Isaac) covert mission to Argentina in 1960 to track down Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley), the Nazi officer who masterminded the transportation logistics that brought millions of innocent Jews to their deaths in concentration camps.

Operation Finale director Chris Weitz spoke to the parallel between the story and current events.

“I think the film became more and more timely during the making of it,” Weitz told The Hollywood Reporter. “When we were shooting, Charlottesville happened, and we just experienced the huge anniversary of that. I think it’s important to remember what it’s like when demagogues can manipulate people, for the sake of getting power, to hating the other.”

Weitz also stressed that it goes beyond anti-Semitism: “It can be racism, anti-immigrant sentiment. These are dangerous things for a country that prides itself on democracy to encounter.”

It was Weitz's love of history that drew co-star Melanie Laurent to the role as Hanna. “This story is so intense and so amazing," she told THR.

With such heavy topics explored in the film, Laurent admitted to finding ways to ease out of character. “I'm pretty good at keeping my distance, but I'm very intense on set, so you have to negotiate," the actress said. "Sometimes when the story's really intense, I have nightmares. You suddenly bring something to life that's really dark, but Chris is a very sweet director, so we worked [in the midst] of a lot of happiness."