First announced for development as a feature film in 2010, The Zookeeper's Wife has found its lead in Zero Dark Thirty star Jessica Chastain and its director in Whale Rider helmer Niki Caro. The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Chastain will headline the adaptation of the Diane Ackerman novel, officially described as follows:
When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka bombers devastated Warsaw—and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants—otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxes.
Chastain, who recently appeared in the supernatural thriller Mama, is also set to star in Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak.