A story of noble heroes battling to protect priceless artworks stolen from their rightful owners during the Second World War? It sounded like Oscar bait when George Clooney's “The Monuments Men” first turned up on the horizon, and we all know how that turned out. Might it turn out any better with Helen Mirren and Harvey Weinstein leading the charge?
The Oscar-winning actress has signed on for The Weinstein Company's “Woman in Gold,” the true-life tale of Holocaust survivor Maria Altmann, who entered a legal battle with the Austrian government to retrieve a number of Gustav Klimt paintings taken from her family during the war. Ryan Reynolds is committed to play the lawyer who takes on her case; Daniel Brühl is in talks to play the opposition.
TV-trained British director Simon Curtis, who steered Michelle Williams to an Oscar nomination in the Weinsteins' “My Week With Marilyn,” is on board, while Kris Thykier (whose credits include “W.E.,” “Kick-Ass” and the Mirren vehicle “The Debt”) and David M. Thompson (“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”) are producing, while acclaimed British playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell has written the screenplay.
Shooting begins next month, so the elements all seem to be in place for respectably middle-of-the-road prestige fare that may or may not ring awards voters' collective bell.