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Cannes: Jesse Eisenberg to Tackle Legendary Mime Marcel Marceau in ‘Resistance’

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‘Hands of Stone’ helmer Jonathan Jakubowicz will direct from a screenplay he wrote.

Jesse Eisenberg is joining the Resistance.

The Social Network actor will star as Marcel Marceau in a film titled Resistance, which focuses on the legendary mime’s involvement in the French resistance during World War II. Hands of Stone helmer Jonathan Jakubowicz will direct from a screenplay he wrote.

Described as in the vein of Life Is Beautiful, the story will detail how Marceau learned to mime to survive and to save the lives of Jewish orphans whose parents had just been killed by the Nazis. He was born Marcel Mangel and grew up speaking Yiddish as the son of a kosher butcher from Strasbourg, France. His father was eventually killed in Auschwitz.

Marceau was most famous for his stage persona as Bip the Clown. He referred to mime as the “art of silence,” and he performed professionally worldwide for more than 60 years. He gave his first major performance to 3,000 American troops after the liberation of Paris in August 1944.

For his work with the French Resistance, Marceau was made Grand Officier de la Legion d’Honneur and was awarded the National Order of Merit in France. He even counted Michael Jackson as a friend (Jackson credited him as the original creator of his landmark moonwalk).

Eisenberg, whose mother worked as a professional clown, is no stranger to Marceau’s story. Like Marceau, he also hails from a family of European Jews, some of whom died in the Holocaust. He most recently starred in Now You See Me and will be next seen as Lex Luthor in Justice League. He also starred in Woody Allen’s film Cafe Society, which opened last year’s Cannes festival.

Resistance will be produced by Claudine Jakubowicz and Carlos Garcia de Paredes, who also produced and put together the financing for Hands of Stone, which also screened at Cannes last year. Baptiste Marceau, the mime’s oldest son, has been closely involved in the research of the film and will serve as executive producer.

Resistance will shoot in early 2018 as a European co-production. CAA is packaging and representing the film.

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