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If anyone in the film-watching world can possibly say, “Who is Jessica Chastain?” at this point, then it's hard to say they're part of the film-watching world. She was last in this year’s mediocre creep-fest Mama and was nominated for an Oscar in last year’s politically-charged Zero Dark Thirty, and she was in nine other films since 2011, playing characters of all different shades. And now it seems she’ll be headed back to World War II for her next film...well, one of her next films.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chastain is set to star in the adaptation of The Zookeeper’s Wife, a 2007 novel written by Diane Ackerman. The film also found its director in Niki Caro, most famous for her 2002 family drama Whale Rider (partially due to her second film, 2009’s A Perfect Vintage, not being particularly memorable). The new film is being produced and financed by Panorama and is expected to hit the market once Cannes begins on May 15th. The film’s screenplay was written by Angela Workman, a British writer whose drama Brontëis currently sitting unmade at Paramount.
This subject matter is pure awards bait, but hopefully interesting bait nonetheless. The Zookeeper’s Wife tells the true story of Polish couple Jan and Antonina Zabinski, keepers of a Warsaw zoo. Once the Nazis invaded Warsaw during WWII, the Zabinskis started housing some of the evacuee Jews, sheltering them inside the zoo. Not merely a thriller guided by the Nazi’s hunt, the film – like the novel – will focus more on the socialization of the disjointed community.
And from Nazis to ghosts, Jessica Chastain is next set to star in Guillermo Del Toro’s romantic ghost story Crimson Peak, and has Liv Ullmann’s Miss Julie also in the pipeline. She’ll next be seen, however, in the strange double film of Ned Benson, The Disappearance of Elanor Rigby, in both “his” and “hers” editions.