Maggie Smith to Take Lead in Film Version of ‘A German Life’

Developed by screenwriter-playwright Christopher Hampton, the one-woman show about Nazi Joseph Goebbels’ secretary will be opera director Jonathan Kent’s movie debut.

AceShowbiz -Dame Maggie Smith is set to star in the film version of her one-woman show about Nazi Joseph Goebbels’ secretary, Brunhilde Pomsel.

Developed by screenwriter-playwright Christopher Hampton, who was awarded an Oscar for the screen adaptation of “Dangerous Liaisons”, Smith previously played the role in “A German Life” at The Bridge Theatre in London’s West End.

The project will be opera director Jonathan Kent’s movie debut.

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“A German Life” is based on a series of interviews that Pomsel gave when she was 103. The screen version came about due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, which has closed theatres throughout the world.

“What with COVID, Maggie decided that she didn’t really want to go back and do it again on stage, which was a great shame because it meant that an enormous number of people hadn’t seen it and her great performance,” Hampton told Variety.

He adds, “What I’ve been doing is writing it as a screenplay about this woman in her retirement home in 2013 talking about her life. The film script was more difficult to write than the stage play. Sometimes she looks out the window and sees characters, but otherwise, it’s all just her through the course of the day talking about her memories.”

Additionally, Hampton shared that he finished his long-gestating stage play about Jimmie Lee Jackson, the African-American civil rights activist and a deacon in the Baptist church in Alabama. “The death of Jimmie Lee Jackson led to the Selma to Montgomery marches. In 2010, the policeman was finally tried and sentenced to six months in jail. I’ve been working on this on-and-off for some time. I went to Alabama four or five years ago, while the guy who killed Jackson was still alive. Finally, after doing all this research, I wrote it this summer, and it turned out to be sort of unpleasantly relevant [with the Black Lives Matter demonstrations],” he said.

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