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Diane Kruger is teaming with Straight Up Films to tell the story of silver-screen and communications technology pioneer Hedy Lamarr.
Kruger is producing with the intent to star in what is envisioned to be a TV miniseries adaptation of the Richard Rhodes book Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, The Most Beautiful Woman in the World.
Google and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation are also collaborating on the development of the project.
Lamarr, who first began acting in her native Austria, lit up American cinema in the late 1930s and 1940s, starring in Comrade X with Clark Gable, Tortilla Flat with Spencer Tracy and Samson & Deiliah with Victor Mature. Her career fell into a sad decline in the 1950s and ‘60s, but it was in her pre-war life that she made a lasting impact that would only be recognized decades later.
Lamarr first married when she was 18, to a wealthy Austrian munitions manufacturer with ties to both governments in Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. And while her husband was a man who ruled their marriage with an iron fist, he introduced her to scientists working in the military. This nurtured her latent curiosity and she worked on inventions in her off-hours even when she made her way to America.
While most of her inventions didn’t go far, during World War II and while under contract with MGM, Lamarr and a friend invented a frequency-hopping radio signal that they patented. They approached the military, who at the time turned them away. It was only a generation later that the military began looking at it and using it. The technology, called Spread Spectrum Technology, now underpins Bluetooth and WiFi use.
Her technological contribution was recognized very late in life, and in 2014 she was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
“I am fascinated by Hedy Lamarr,” said Kruger in a statement. “She was a smart, witty, visionary inventor, way ahead of her time, who also happened to be a major movie star. I cannot wait to tell her story to make sure her legacy will live on forever and inspire others.”
Kruger picked up the rights to Pulitzer Prize-winner Rhodes’ book and will produce with Marisa Polvino, Kate Cohen and Sandra Condito of Straight Up Films, which counts Jane Got a Gun and Transcendence among its credits. Abi Harris and Jason Weinberg of Untitled Entertainment will also produce.
Gene Kelly and Rose Ganguzza will executive produce with the collaboration of biographer Rhodes and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the philanthropy organization that has focus on science and technology. The foundation has been quietly celebrating Lamarr, giving Rhodes a book grant, a production grant for the documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, and will now support Kruger with a screenwriting development grant.
Kruger, who won the best actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival this year for the German-language drama In the Fade, recently wrapped a JT Leroy film opposite Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern. She next shoots an untitled Robert Zemeckis drama opposite Steve Carell for Universal.
Kruger is repped by Untitled Entertainment, UTA and Altitude Management.
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