Fresh off her second consecutive Academy Award nomination for Zerk Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain is attached to play the title role in The Zookeeper’s Wife, which, surprisingly, is an adaptation of a 2007 Diane Ackerman book, and not a spinoff of We Bought a Zoo. Do you remember that movie? I only saw the first half, but frickin’ Matt Damon couldn’t do anything right.
Niki Caro (Whale Rider, North Country) has come aboard to direct the World War II story, which Panorama is financing and producing.
Wife is the true account of keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, who helped save hundreds during the Nazi invasion.
When the Nazi army overran Warsaw, destroying the city and its zoo, Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. The Zabinskis also took about a dozen Jews into their home.
While danger was always present, and her husband was part of the Polish resistance, Antonina Zabinski kept a mix of humans and surviving animals (lynxes and hyena pups, among them) humming in a one-of-a-kind community that included socializing and even the occasional piano concert. [THR]
No word on whether Kevin James will reprise his role as The Zookeeper. Either way, I feel like they missed a golden opportunity to call it “Jew Zoo.” Or perhaps “A Zoo for Jews.” What? I like the rhyme.
I just hope this is more Oscar-caliber material for Chastain, whose lines will hopefully include “Who am I? I’m the motherf*cker who raised the hyenas.”