The Zookeeperâ€™s Wife begins production in Prague with Jessica Chastain
Production has begun in the Czech Republic on The Zookeeperâ€™s Wife, adapted from Diane Ackermanâ€™s nonfiction book of the same name which was based on the diaries of Antonina Ĺ»abiĹ„ski. Focus Features will release the film domestically; Universal Pictures International has distribution rights to the film in the U.K., France, Germany, Scandinavia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.
Two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain stars in the title role, as Antonina Ĺ»abiĹ„ski. The Zookeeperâ€™s Wife director Niki Caroâ€™s previous films include Whale Rider and North Country.
The Zookeeperâ€™s Wife dramatizes a real-life story of heroism. The time is 1939. The place is Poland, homeland of Antonina Ĺ»abiĹ„ski (portrayed by Ms. Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Ĺ»abiĹ„ski (Johan Heldenbergh, a European Film Award nominee for the Academy Award-nominated The Broken Circle Breakdown). The Warsaw Zoo flourishes under Janâ€™s stewardship and Antoninaâ€™s care. When their country is invaded by the Nazis, Jan and Antonina are forced to report to the Reichâ€™s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Golden Globe Award nominee Daniel BrĂĽhl of the upcoming Captain America: Civil War). The Ĺ»abiĹ„skis covertly begin working with the Resistance â€“ and put into action plans to save the lives of hundreds from what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, with Antonina putting herself and her children at great risk.
The cast of The Zookeeperâ€™s Wife also includes Michael McElhatton (â€śGame of Thronesâ€ť); Iddo Goldberg (Defiance, The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler); Goran Kostic (In the Land of Blood and Honey); and Israeli actresses Shira Haas, who stars in Natalie Portmanâ€™s feature directorial debut A Tale of Love and Darkness, and Efrat Dor, acclaimed for her work in the television series â€śAchat Efes Efes, Asfur, and Mermaids.â€ť
The screenplay adaptation is by Angela Workman (War Bride). The movie is being produced by Jeff Abberley, through his Scion Films; Kim Zubick and Diane Levin, who initiated the project; and Electric City Entertainmentâ€™s Jamie Patricof.Â Mike Tollin and Robbie Tollin serve asÂ executive producers on the project.
Academy Award nominee Suzie Davies (Mr. Turner) is the production designer on The Zookeeperâ€™s Wife; Andrij Parekh (â€śShow Me a Heroâ€ť) is the director of photography; and Bina Daigeler (Only Lovers Left Alive) is the filmâ€™s costume designer.
(Photo Credit: WENN)