Following “Colonia,”Beta Film and Oscar-winning director Florian Gallenberger are set to re-team on “The Turncoat,” a WW2 mini-series based on Siegfried Lenz’s bestselling novel by the same name.
Currently shooting in Poland and Germany, “The Turncoat” will boast a high-profile German cast including Jannis Niewöhner (“Maximilian and Marie de Bourgogne”), Malgorzata Mikolajczak, Sebastian Urzendowsky (“The Counterfeiters”), Rainer Bock (“Never Look Away”) and Ulrich Tukur (“The Lives of Others”).
Dreamtool is producing “The Turncoat” for public broadcaster NDR, ARD Degeto and SWR. Written by Gallenberger (John Rabe, Colonia, Quiero ser) and Bernd Lange (“The Vanishing”), “The Turncoat” depicts the story of young Wehrmacht soldier Walter who is stranded in the no man’s land of the Polish forests starts questioning the meaning of duty, friendship and love.
“These are stormy times, even though we are the generation which has everything – peace, freedom and prosperity. We want to create a touching film that shows us how important it is to fight for these values, just as Lenz himself wanted to do with his novel,” said Stefan Raiser who is producing the series with Felix Zackor.
Lenz’s books were translated into 22 languages and sold more than 20 million units, said Beta. The story of “The Turncoat” is inspired by his own experiences as he had himself deserted during the last days of the war. He wrote the novel in 1951 at the age of 25 but kept it secret. “The Turncoat” was only rediscovered and published two years after his death in 2016. The novel has since then been published throughout Europe and Asia, a U.S. release is due soon.
“While the novel was way ahead of the curve in 1951, today it is immensely relevant. Nationalist tendencies are on the rise all over the globe, the desire for strong leaders and simple answers to complex questions is more and more prevalent,” said Gallenberger.
“‘The Turncoat’ deals with issues that are highly urgent today; therefore, it is a novel ripe for adaptation. Lenz has succeeded in facing these complex questions of guilt and responsibility on a deeply human level,” added the filmmaker.
The mini-series, which Beta described as being in the veins of “Generation War,” will wrap at the end of August. Beta Film handles world sales and will present first images at Mipcom in October.
Director Florian Gallenberger: –
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