James Schamus, X-Filme, Alison Thompson bring hot title to market.
The English-language adaptation of Hans Fallada’s classic 1947 novel Alone in Berlin is heading to the Cannes marche with a stellar team behind it, including former Focus Features CEO James Schamus and X-Filme and Alison Thompson’s fledgling sales outfit Sunray Films.
French actor Vincent Perez will direct the script from Good Bye, Lenin! writer Achim von Borries.
Inspired by a true story, Fallada’s bestseller charts the remarkable story of a working class husband and wife who, acting alone, became part of the German Resistance during Nazi rule.
Cast is expected to be announced during the Cannes marche, with the production targeting British and German actors for the lead roles.
Sunray Films, the new London-based outfit of former Focus Features International co-president Alison Thompson, will handle worldwide sales. Pathe will distribute in France and Benelux.
Stefan Arndt and Uwe Schott produce for X-Filme, the German production outfit whose credits include Amour and The White Ribbon, and which previously collaborated with Schamus and Thompson on Cloud Atlas while the two execs were still at Focus.
Christian Grass and Paul Trijbits of FilmWave will co-produce and handle the UK.
Schamus and Thompson had both been fans of the script while at Focus but the project was never officially signed onto the slate.
“The script really hones in on the story between the book’s two protagonists,” Thompson told ScreenDaily.
“They were incredibly brave and amazing people. The book also looks at the characters inside the building in which they live and the cat and mouse game they play with the Gestapo. Although their lives ended tragically, they had also fallen in love again, they were able to reignite their marriage and they found an incredible sense of purpose through their struggle.”
Thompson’s Sunray will also be shopping Mike Leigh’s Cannes competition title Mr. Turner and Asif Kapadia’s untitled Amy Winehouse documentary.