Jessica Chastain (The Martian) will star in the title role of war-time drama The Zookeeper’s Wife. This big screen adaptation of Diane Ackerman’s book by the same name recounts the extraordinary true story of Dr. Jan Zabinski and his wife Antonina, keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, and how they saved hundreds of people as well as animals during the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939.
In the film, Jan and Antonina, who have been successful at managing the zoo, are forced to report to the Reich’s new chief zoologist, Lutz Heck. The couple begin to work covertly with the resistance, putting themselves and their children in danger as they attempt to save habitants of the “Warsaw Ghetto.”
Starring as Jan is Johan Heldenbergh, of the acclaimed 2012 foreign film The Broken Circle Breakdown. Daniel Bruhl (Inglourious Basterds; Rush) portrays Lutz Heck. The cast also features Michael McElhatton (Game of Thrones), Goran Kostic (In the Land of Blood and Honey, Shira Haas (Princess) and Iddo Goldberg of TV’s Salem.
Directing the film is Niki Caro, who recently directed the Kevin Costner movie McFarland, USA. The screenplay was written by Angela Workman, who is known for writing historical dramas, most notably Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
Chastain will also appear with Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth in The Huntsman, scheduled for release April 22, 2016.
Now filming in the Czech Republic, The Zookeeper’s Wife is expected to premiere in theaters next year.