EXCLUSIVE: Sony Classics already in place to distribute English-language adaptation of Hans Fallada’s bestselling novel.

Focus Features is to handle international slaes on Swiss-born, French-speaking actor Vincent Perez’s third feature film as director, his own adaptation of Hans Fallada’s 1947 novel Alone In Berlin (Jeder stirbt für sich allein). Sony Classics is already in place as North American distributor.

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Speaking at the weekend in Kazakhstan’s Almaty during the Eurasia International Film Festival where he was a guest of honour, Perez said: “Hans Fallada was an amazing writer and had a very difficult life. Just before he died in 1947, a publisher went to see him with boxes of documents from the Gestapo to see if he could find a story in them. What followed was his book Alone In Berlin.“

“Since the book has been such a success in America and the UK where it appeared four years ago, my producer Stefan Arndt [of Berlin-based X-Filme Creative Pool] and I have decided to do it in English,“ Perez revealed. Previously, there had been plans to shoot in German with a German-speaking cast, and the project was already allocated €400,000 project funding by the Leipzig-based regional fund Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung (MDM).

“And after five years of carrying that project, we are finally going to start the casting at the end of the month [September], and we are aiming for the greatest actors,” Perez added.

Alone In Berlin will be Perez’s third outing as a director after the 2002 romantic drama Peau d’Ange, starring the late Guillaume Depardieu and Morgane More, and the 2005 supernatural drama The Secret, with David Duchovny, Lili Taylor and Olivia Thirlby.