Constantin Film's Bernd Eichinger (pictured) is producing a film on the last days of Adolf Hitler with director Oliver Hirschbiegl in his first feature outing since the award-winning Das Experiment.
The screenplay for Der Untergang - Hitler Und Das Ende Des 3. Reichs (The Downfall - Hitler And The End Of The 3rd Reich) has been written by Eichinger himself based on two sources: Joachim Fest's best-seller of the same name and Hitler's secretary Traudl Junge's memoirs Bis Zur Letzten Stunde (To The Last Hour), which were both published last year.
Pre-production is already underway on the big budget feature which will begin shooting in Germany and at other European locations from mid-August; the theatrical release is already being scheduled by Constantin Film for September 16 2004.
This is the second feature screenplay penned by Eichinger after his 1999 directorial effort Der Grosse Bagarozy. Previously, he had screenwriter credits on three "German Classics" TV movies produced by Constantin between 1996-1997 - Es Geschah Am Hellichten Tag , Die Halbstarken, and Das Maedchen Rosemarie - as well as co-scripting two films for Hans W. Geissendoerfer (Perahim - Die Zweite Chance and Die Eltern) and a short film he directed at film school (Canossa).
Respected German historian Joachim Fest attracted international attention in 1973 with his controversial biography of Hitler. Traudl Junge was the subject of the award-winning documentary Im Toten Winkel. Hitlers Sekretaerin (Blind Spot. Hitler's Secretary) by Andre Heller and Othmar Schmiderer which received its premiere in the Berlinale's Panorama in February 2002, just hours after the 81 year-old had passed away.
Meanwhile, the German magazine HoerZu has reported that UK actor John Hurt is in negotiations to portray Adolf Hitler in a television special for ZDF on the Fuehrer's final days to be broadcast on May 8 2005, coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.