Robert Zemeckis’ WWII Romance Starts Filming in January, Says Steven Knight

From Collider: “Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis took a bit of a sabbatical from live-action films to work on his motion-capture pics The Polar Express, Beowulf, and A Christmas Carol, but the director behind Back to the Future and Forest Gump looks like he’s back in the live-action fold for the time being. Flight got his feet wet with a character drama, and the upcoming The Walk looks to be Zemeckis’ blend of drama and thrill ride, but it’s Zemeckis’ next project that has people mighty interested.

We learned earlier this year that the director would be helming a “sweeping romantic thriller” starring Brad Pitt, scripted by Steven Knight (Locke), and set against the backdrop of World War II. Further details arose this summer when Marion Cotillard was cast opposite Pitt, with the two in line to play assassins who fall in love during a mission in Casablanca to kill a German ambassador. A game of espionage ensues as matters are further complicated, but the root of the story is grounded in the romance between the two characters.

Pitt, Cotillard, Zemeckis, and Knight is a formidable filmmaking team, so when Steve recently spoke with Knight in anticipation of the release of Pawn Sacrifice, which he wrote, Steve asked the screenwriter about the Zemeckis project:

“It starts shooting in January… It’s based on a story that was told to me personally when I was about 21 years old. It’s set in Britain during the war and [is] the story of a relationship that involves espionage.”

Given Zemeckis’ penchant for ambition when it comes to technology, Steve asked Knight if we could expect similar boundary pushing in this untitled thriller, but the screenwriter said the crux of the story is very much a relationship drama:

“It’s more of a drama. It’s more of a story and a love story, but with surprising elements to it.”

And as for the basis of the film, Knight recounted how the true story came to him when he was young:

“This is a very odd story. I was in Texas working as a dishwasher and doing all sorts of weird things. I was going out with an English girl at the time and her auntie lived in Texas, and she got talking about her brother who had been in the S.O.E., the British Secret Service if you like, and she told me this story that just stayed with me. I’ve always known it would be a film, and now it’s gonna be the ultimate. I can’t believe the cast we’ve got, I can’t believe the director we’ve got, it’s just a dream.””

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