Hot off his stint as the villainous Baron Zemo in Captain America: Civil War, Daniel Bruhl is heading into an entirely different type of conflict in The Zookeeper’s Wife. As reported by THR, the German thesp is now attached to co-star alongside Jessica Chastain, who nabbed the headlining role some two-and-a-half years ago.
Focus Features has Whale Rider helmer Niki Caro set to direct this true story based on the experiences of a Warsaw couple during World War Two. Diane Ackerman penned the non-fiction account of zookeepers Antonina and Jan Zabinska, who displayed immense bravery during the Nazi occupation by hiding 300 Jews in the battered ruined cages of the animals, and many more tucked away in their own homestead.
Bruhl plays Dr. Jan Zabinska, who also worked as part of the resistance, alongside Chastain, who plays Antonina. There’s been very little development on the film since her appointment in May 2013 – presumably scheduling conflicts? – but with Bruhl on board, hopefully things will start to push forward on this remarkable tale.
While no official synopsis for The Zookeeper’s Wife has arrived as yet, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the phenomenal feats of the Zabinskis with the plot breakdown for the novel below.
The Zookeeper’s Wife is a strange, but historically true story of WWII. It reveals the extraordinary efforts of Jan and Antonina Zabinski, Christian zookeepers horrified by Nazi racism, who capitalized on the Nazis’ obsession with pureblood animals in order to save over 300 doomed people by hiding them in the bombed-out cages at the Warsaw Zoo. A tale of people, animals, and subversive acts of compassion.
After their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski managed to save over three hundred people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages. With animal names for these “guests,” and human names for the animals, it’s no wonder that the zoo’s code name became “The House Under a Crazy Star.” Best-selling naturalist and acclaimed storyteller Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating, true-life story — sharing Antonina’s life as “the zookeeper’s wife,” while examining the disturbing obsessions at the core of Nazism.