J. Michael Straczynski might not be a household name, but chances are, most people are familiar with his work. In the 1980s and 1990s, Straczynski wrote for several notable series, including everything from He-Man and Masters of the Universe as well as Murder, She Wrote, before creating the cult sci-fi series Babylon 5 in 1994.
Lately, the writer has been focusing more on feature films. His credits include Ninja Assassin, Thor and, most recently, Underworld: Awakening. However, his latest project will venture into more grim territory.
According to Variety, Straczynski will write and direct World War II drama The Flickering Light. The project will mark his directorial film debut.
The movie follows a group of concentration camp prisoners in 1942 who are forced to take part in the filming of a Nazi propaganda flick by Leni Riefenstahl. This tragic circumstance is then complicated when two of the prisoners end up falling in love on set.
The project is an intriguing one for Straczynski to select as his first directorial effort.
Here’s what he had to say about the film’s premise:
“The Flickering Light is based on one of the most surreal and little known chapters of film history and the Second World War itself. During the day, the prisoners were escorted to the studio by armed guard and corralled onto movie sets. They were cleaned up by the largely sympathetic Aryan crew, feasted on food unimaginable to prisoners, then dressed in period Spanish wardrobe as Riefenstahl required “authenticity” on camera. Then after filming each day, returned, once more in rags, to the horror of the camp.”
The Flickering Light may not be everyone’s cup of tea, given the heavy subject matter involved, but the tale at hand does seem like it provides a unique perspective on the real-life horrors that took place during World War II.
The prospect of a love story set in such circumstances calls to mind a tone similar to Life Is Beautiful, wherein the tragedy is woven together with a bittersweet hope for something better. It may be too soon to say how the film will turn out, but this may be one to keep an eye on.
The Flickering Light starts filming in November. We’ll keep you updated on the movie as this story develops.