Downfall director Oliver Hirschbiegel is returning to familiar territory with Nazi-era drama Georg Elser. Billed as an emotional portrait of the resistance fighter who tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler in the Munich Bürgerbräukeller on November 8, 1939, the film kicked off shooting yesterday in Wackershofen/Southern Germany. Not to be confused with the July 20, 1944, assassination plot against Hitler that was the subject of Bryan Singer’s 2008 film Valkyrie, Elser’s attempt came five years earlier during what was expected to be a lengthy speech given by the Nazi leader for the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. A bomb Elser had placed behind the lectern detonated — 13 minutes after Hitler had left the platform — and ended up killing eight others. A carpenter from Königsbronn, Elser is thought to have opposed Nazism from the beginning of the regime and later told interrogators that the idea of “eliminating the leadership,” including Hitler, Hermann Goering and Joseph Goebbels, came to him in the fall of 1938. “I reasoned the situation in Germany could only be modified by a removal of the current leadership,” he said. Elser was arrested the day of the failed attempt, interrogated, tortured and sent to Dachau. In 1945, days before the end of the war, he was executed on Hitler’s orders. The film will follow Elser’s path from the the Swabian Alps to the assassination attempt and his last days in the concentration camp.
Oliver Hirschbiegel scored with his World War II final days of Hitler film Downfall, and now he’s eyeing World War I. Arclight Films a deal to rep two Rainmark Films. One is Hirschbiegel’s WWI drama The Guns Of August, starring Helena Bonham Carter, Charles Dance and Game Of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke, the other is the comedy drama Woolly Faces, written and directed by Pearse Elliott. Both are being presented to buyers for the first time here in Cannes. Bonham Carter will play her real life step-great grandmother Margot Asquith in an adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning book by historian Barbara W. Tuchman. Scripted by writer-producer Frank Doelger, it is the story of a family dispute with global consequences. It traces the tragic misunderstandings, missed opportunities and aristocratic follies of the summer of 1914, which led to the outbreak of the First World War. It shoots next year.