Robert Wieckiewicz to Play Lech Walesa in Andrzej Wajda-Directed Biopic

Robert Wieckiewicz - H 2011
Beta Film

The veteran Polish actor also stars in Agnieszka Holland’s Oscar hopeful “In Darkness.”

COLOGNE, Germany – Veteran Polish actor Robert Wieckiewicz has been cast as Lech Walesa in the new biopic of the founder of Poland’s Solidarity movement from Oscar-winning director Andrzej Wajda.

Wieckiewicz most recently stared in Agnieszka Holland’s In Darkness, in which he plays a Polish sewer worker who saves a group of Jews from the Nazis. The film, which premiered in Telluride and Toronto, is Poland’s official entry for the 2012 foreign language Oscars. Sony Pictures Classics has picked up In Darkness for release stateside.

Wadja, whose WWII drama Katyn (2007) was Oscar-nominated and who won a honorary lifetime achievement Oscar in 2000, is currently casting extras for his Walesa film. Principle photography is set to start in Gdansk in January.

The film focuses on the start of the Solidarity movement, which begun with a Walesa-led workers’ revolt at the Gdansk shipyards in the 1970s. Wadja himself joined the Solidarity movement in 1981. The Solidarity movement was key in the collapse of the Soviet Union and Poland’s transition to democracy. Walesa's efforts won him the Noble Peace Prize in 1983 and in 1990, after the fall of Communism, he was elected President of Poland in a landslide victory.

Wadja will shoot the scenes of the revolt in Poland this summer for an expected late 2012/early 2013 release.