Terrence Malick to Tackle WWII Biopic 'Radegund'

Terrence Malick August Diehl Split H 2016
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German star August Diehl is attached to play Franz Jagerstatter, a conscientious objector executed by the Nazis in 1943.

Nearly two decades after his Oscar-nominated The Thin Red Line, Terrence Malick is returning to World War II, this time in the form of a biopic about Franz Jagerstatter, a conscientious objector executed by the Nazis.

German star August Diehl (Inglourious Basterds) is attached to star as Jagerstatter in Malick's new film, titled Radegund, named after the small Austrian village where Jagerstatter was born. The village, in turn, was named for a sixth-century Catholic saint.

When the German troops arrived in 1938, Jagerstatter was the only one in his village to vote against the Anschluss with Hitler's Germany. He continued to oppose the regime and refused to fight for the Axis in WWII. In 1943, he was arrested, sentenced to death and executed.

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI declared Jagerstatter a martyr and he was beatified by the Catholic Church.

Austrian actress Valerie Pachner (Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe) is also attached to star in the film. German film subsidy body Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg has backed Radegund with $451,000 (€400,000) in production funding.

Malick's latest feature, Knight of Cups — starring Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman — premiered last year at the Berlin International Film Festival before hitting theaters in the U.S. earlier this year.

The reclusive auteur recently wrapped shooting on Austin-set drama Weightless starring Portman, Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling. The Voyage of Time, a documentary on the “birth and death of the known universe,” which Malick has been working on for several years, is set to hit Imax theaters this October.