Mimi Leder to Direct New 'All Quiet on the Western Front' Adaptation
She's been away from big screen for a while, but now director Mimi Leder (The Peacemaker, Deep Impact, The Code, U.S. Attorney) is making her return. Deadline reports Leder has signed on to direct All Quiet on the Western Front, an adaptation of Enrique Remarque's WWI trench warfare novel. It was adapted once before in 1930 and won Best Picture, but they're taking another crack at it. The script was written by Ian Stokell and Lesley Paterson. If all goes as planned, production will start in late 2012, likely in Europe, depending on financing. "We need a battlefield and an old village so we'll go where the financing takes us."
The novel is about the intense and terrifying action of 1918 trench warfare that traumatizes a young and idealistic German soldier on the Western front. Leder goes on to explain her interest in this new version, being produced by Sliding Down Rainbows Entertainment (ohh yea), and why she was so drawn to it:
"Even though the original film was made in 1930 at the advent of the talkies, I was moved by its depiction of the terrible senseless brutality of war," Leder said. "With this version, most of it takes place in the last 24 hours of the war. WWI fighting was brutal, hand-to-hand and ugly, and it practically wiped out a generation of young men. What is so compelling is the catastrophic levels of violence, this mind-numbing savagery, and what happens to a boy who in the journey to becoming a man has to become an animal. War destroys the humanity of this young man, stripping away his ability to feel, and making him act like a beast. Taken with the emotionality of how this young boy joined the war out of nationalism as many of our boys do to keep America safe, there is a message here about what happens to them and the politicians who are making war."
Mimi Leder recently worked on HBO's "Luck", as well as on "ER" over the years. If you remember, there was report last year that Daniel Radcliffe was the frontrunner for this very project. Deadline doesn't mention Radcliffe or any actors, but there's certainly a chance he's still in the mix. Leder says that "there is an opportunity to make a great film about war, but it is also an anti-war film, an un-romanticized version of war and its consequences." This certainly sounds interesting and I'm curious to see a new take on All Quiet on the Western Front, but with Steven Spielberg about to show us his version of WWI with War Horse this fall, I'm not sure this will be able to live up to that, but you never know. We'll keep an eye on it anyway.