All Quiet on the Western Front, the classic 1929 World War I novel by Erich Maria Remarque that was famously adapted into the 1930 best picture Oscar winner by Lewis Milestone, is set for a fresh cinematic take, this time in its original German language.
Rocket Science and Amusement Park have acquired the rights, with both set to produce the new version, to be directed by BAFTA winner and Emmy nominee Edward Berger (Patrick Melrose, Jack, Deutschland ’83) and with a budget of $20 million. Rocket Science is handling worldwide sales and will introduce the project to buyers at the European Film Market in Berlin.
Based on the best-selling German novel of all time, which has been called the definitive exposé of war, the screenplay is by Ian Stokell and Lesley Paterson. The film will be produced by Malte Grunert (The Aftermath, Land of Mine, A Most Wanted Man) of Amusement Park, Daniel Dreifuss (Sergio, No) and executive produced by Daniel Bruhl. Casting is underway for the lead role of Paul Baumer. Bruhl is attached for the ensemble cast.
Egged on by romantic dreams of heroism, Baumer and his friends Albert and Muller voluntarily enlist in the German army. Full of excitement and patriotic fervor, the boys enthusiastically march into a war they believe in. But once on the Western Front, they discover the soul-destroying horror of WWI. Paul’s preconceptions about the enemy and the rights and wrongs of the conflict crumble. On the countdown to Armistice, Paul must carry on fighting until the end, with no purpose other than to satisfy the top brass’ desire to end the war on a German offensive. His fight is a harrowing account of the futility and irony of war.
“All Quiet on the Western Front may be set in 1918, but it speaks directly to our times and the divisive tone in today’s discourse. It is a physical, visceral and very modern film that has never been told from my country’s perspective, it has never been made into a German-language film,” said Berger, who first came to prominence with the Berlinale bowing Jack, and most recently directed All My Loving, which screened in Berlin in 2019. “We now have the chance to make an anti-war film that will truly touch our audience.”
Producer Grunert added: “All Quiet on the Western Front to this day is indeed the definitive novel about war and the utter senselessness of it. War knows no heroes. One hundred years after its publication, All Quiet on the Western Front has retained all its impact and power. In the hands of Edward, it will be a very meaningful and contemporary take on the story, a powerful film and an impressive cinematic experience. I am really excited and looking forward to spending all of my energy making this now.”
Berger is represented by Casarotto Ramsay & Associates, Anonymous Content and ICM.