Woody Harrelson may be the man with the crazy Carnage wig in Venom, but he’s going to be The Man With The Miraculous Hands in a new World War II psychological thriller from The Messenger director Oren Moverman.
Deadline reports that Harrelson is set to star in The Man With The Miraculous Hands, a psychological thriller set in World War II that adapts Joseph Kessel’s novel The Man with the Miraculous Hands: The Fantastic Story of Felix Kersten, Himmler’s Private Doctor.
Per Deadline, The Man With The Miraculous Hands “depicts the titular Kersten’s remarkable true story as the physician whose therapies helped to relieve Himmler’s debilitating abdominal pain, thereby giving him extraordinary influence over one of the main architects of the Holocaust. With clever manipulations, and a flair for dangerous negotiation with his monstrous patient, Kersten was able to ultimately save thousands of lives from the concentration camps and outlive his captor.”
Here is the synopsis for Kessel’s 2004 book (via Amazon):
Physician to the high-demon of the Third Reich, Heinrich Himmler. Kersten could alleviate Himmler’s severe stomach pains with his hands using massage and manipulation. In return, Kersten bargained with Himmler to order the release of innocent prisoners condemned to die.
The film is being made by Jerico Films, a division of the Vendôme Group production banner, and will be helmed by Moverman, who has collaborated with Harrison twice before with his debut film Rampart and 2009’s The Messenger, the latter of which earned Moverman an Oscar nomination for his screenplay and Harrelson an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actor.
The Man With The Miraculous Hands seems like another Oscar contender for the two of them — a chance for Harrelson to portray an inspiring real-life figure, and a contentious World War II setting for Moverman to navigate. It would be a return to form for Harrelson, who has been mostly MIA from the screen since a few middling features in 2019: Zombieland: Double Tap, The Highwayman, and Midway. He’s got a few films coming up, namely a major appearance in Venom: Let There Be Carnage, but Harrelson has been largely absent from awards conversation since his Oscar-nominated turn in 2018’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It sounds like this film is his bid to re-enter those conversations.
“Even 70 years on after the end of the conflict, the Second World War still manages to reveal some of the most deeply moving untold stories of those who managed to triumph against adversity,” said producer Eric Jehelmann, who is producng alongside Philippe Rousselet. Fabrice Gianferm and Jeremy Plager are serving as executive producers.
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