Keira Knightley has starred in a number of World War II films including 2007’s Atonement, co-starring James McAvoy, and more recently in 2014’s The Imitation Game, opposite Benedict Cumberbatch.
Clearly she’s not intimidated by daunting historical storylines, because here she is again, signing on for a new war (or if we’re being completely accurate, post-war) drama, The Aftermath.
The film will hit theaters on April 26 next year, reports The Hollywood Reporter, and is set in 1946 Germany, following the end of World War II. The story revolves around a young woman named Rachael Morgan (Knightley), the wife of a British colonel.
Rachael is reunited with her husband Lewis in the ruins of Hamburg, a city he’s charged with rebuilding. Here she’s shocked to learn that they’ll be sharing a house with its previous occupants, a German widower and his teenage daughter.
The colonel had the option to put the father and daughter out on the street, but instead he invited them to stay in the home. His decision is meant to be altruistic versus upsetting his wife. But, even the kindest of gestures can backfire…
The film is based on the 2013 novel by Rhidian Brook. While the story is fiction, Brook pulled from his family’s history. The Guardian ran a review of the book, summarizing the author’s background: “His grandfather, Walter Brook, allocated a requisitioned house in Hamburg in 1946, took the unusual decision to share it with the owners, rather than dispossessing them.”
In the novel, Morgan and her husband have an 11-year-old son who makes the move with them. Their older son was killed during a wartime bombing. It’s not known yet whether the film will include these details.
Knightley will be joined by Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) and Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood). Clarke will play Knightely’s husband, while Skarsgård takes on the role of the widowed father.
James Kent (Testament of Youth) will direct, with Ridley Scott (Prometheus) set to produce.
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