The King’s Speech producer See-Saw Films, its star Colin Firth and director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) are teaming up for a stranger than fiction true drama set during World War 2.
Michelle Ashford (Masters of Sex, The Pacific, John Adams) has written the screenplay of Operation Mincemeat, based on the best-selling Ben Macintyre book of the same name.
It is set in 1943 as the Allies are determined to launch an all-out assault on Fortress Europe but face a seemingly impossible challenge – to protect a massive invasion force from entrenched German firepower and avert a potential massacre.
Firth will play brilliant intelligence officer Ewen Montagu, who together with colleague Charles Cholmondley dreams up an inspired although improbable disinformation strategy involving a dead man.
Their idea changed the the course of the war – a leap in the dark with no safety net, risking the lives of thousands of men, defying logical analysis and testing the nerves of its creators to breaking point.
See-Saw Films will produce with Cohen Media Group in association with Archery Pictures. The producers are Charles S. Cohen, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Kris Thykier.
FilmNation Entertainment and See-Saw’s sales arm Cross City Films will launch international sales in Cannes, with CAA Media Finance co-repping US rights.
That is See-Saw’s second high-profile project in Cannes, joining The Power of the Dog, Jane Campion’s adaptation of Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel, which will star Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) and Avengers: Endgame’s Benedict Cumberbatch.
Madden said: “In the context of WW2 narratives, the story of Operation Mincemeat is unique – a bizarre and seductive cinematic blend of high-level espionage and ingenious fiction, where the stakes could hardly be higher.
“Michelle Ashford’s script fuses multiple strands and moods: tense, romantic, thrilling, unexpectedly funny, and endlessly surprising. It tells a richly human story of the soldiers we seldom see, who fight a different kind of war in shadows and deception, haunted by the knowledge that certainty and guarantee of success are nowhere to be found.”
Canning and Sherman added: “Operation Mincemeat is an incredible portrait of wartime Britain and how unconventional minds were able to shift the course of the war from the shadows.
“John is the ideal director to bring Ben’s book and Michelle’s stunning adaptation to the screen. Colin is the perfect re-imagining of Ewen Montagu, a man of substance, swagger and sensitivity.”