Hot German star Moritz Bleibtreu (The Experiment, Luna Papa, Taking Sides) is to play the lead role of the Nazi officer Kittel in Audrius Juzenas' adaptation of Joshua Sobol's Ghetto based on real events in the Jewish ghetto of Vilnius during the Second World War.

"Normally, the Nazi is played by a blond, blue-eyed figure, but Moritz's darker colouring is nearer to the original Kittel," says executive producer Thees Klahn whose Dragon Cine will be co-producing the Euros 2m project with Lithuania's Seansas Film and the Dutch production outfit Cineventura.

The English language project by Juzenas, who has been dubbed "Lithuania's Tom Tykwer", will begin shooting in Vilnius next January and has already received Euros 300,000 in production support from the Lithuanian Culture Ministry. A decision on production funding from the regional film funds in Hamburg and North Rhine-Westphalia is pending and applications are also being made to the Dutch Film Fund and Eurimages.

Meanwhile, German theatrical rights have already been picked up by Pegasos Filmverleih.

Ghetto found its German and Dutch partners at the 2001 Mannheim Meetings where the project was selected for pitching to potential financiers.