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Sir Anthony Hopkins is to star in a new biographical movie as Sir Nicholas Winton, a banker and humanitarian who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for “services to humanity, in saving Jewish children from Nazi Germany.”

Hopkins and rising star Johnny Flynn (Emma, Lovesick) will portray Winston at different ages in One Life, a biopic directed by Aisling Walsh (Maudie, Elizabeth Is Missing), Screen International reports.

Winton’s heroic and heartwarming life story is definitely worth retelling. The son of German-Jewish parents who had emigrated to the U.K. in 1907, Winton supervised the rescue of 669 children, most of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia on the eve of World War II.

He was only 29 when he found homes for the children and arranged for their safe travel to the U.K. He was incredibly discreet about his good deeds and only celebrated publicly for them 50 years later when his wife discovered a scrapbook featuring the children’s names and new addresses in their attic.

Winton then appeared on an episode of the BBC TV show That’s Life, in which he was touched to discover that every member of the studio audience was either someone he had rescued, or one of their children or grandchildren.

One Life has a screenplay co-written by Lucinda Coxon (The Danish Girl) and Nick Drake (Romulus). Hopkins, who received his fifth Oscar nomination this year for his performance in The Two Popes, will next be seen in The Father, a film about an aging man who moves in with his daughter, who’s played by Olivia Colman.

It’s set to open December 21 in the U.S. before arriving in U.K. theaters January 8.

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By Nick Levine