The Zookeeper’s Wife is a 2017 war drama film. Let’s see some amazing facts and trivia about it!
1.It is directed by Niki Caro and written by Angela Workman.
2.It based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Diane Ackerman.
3. The film stars Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Michael McElhatton and Daniel Brühl.
4. The Zookeeper’s Wife had its world premiere on March 8, 2017, in Warsaw, Poland, the location of the story, followed by screening at the Cinequest Film Festival on March 12, 2017, and was released in the United States on March 31, 2017 by Focus Features.
5.The plot: Antonina (Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh) are the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, one of the largest and most prolific zoos in 1930s Europe. In the calm of September 1939, Antonina, opens the gates of Miejski Ogród Zoologiczny as a crowd has already gathered to view the many species on display in the zoo. Her husband Jan has only recently been appointed the director of the Warsaw Zoo and faces the scornful, yet envious advances of Dr. Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl), the head of the Berlin Zoo as “Hitler’s zoologist”.
6. The Zookeeper’s Wife was based on not only Diane Ackerman’s non-fiction book The Zookeeper’s Wife but also relied heavily on the author’s use of the diaries of Antonina Żabińska, published in Poland as Ludzie i zwierzęta (translated as: People and Animals) (1968).
7. In key aspects of historical context, the screenplay follows the story of Antonina and her husband, Jan, closely.
8. Both worked at the Warsaw Zoo, although as shown in the film, Antonina was an assistant to her husband who was the director or “Zookeeper”.
9. Animals were part of their family’s life, and the devastation that resulted from not only the attack on Warsaw and the subsequent pillaging of the zoo is well documented.
10. The actions of Lutz Heck and his animal breeding experiments were also a matter of historical record, although the intimate relationship of the two protagonists, Antonina and Heck, were exaggerated. Where it was acute was that the facts behind the defiance of Nazi occupation and ultimately, the rescue of over 300 Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto were depicted accurately.
11. The contributions and participation of the Zabinski children, Ryszard and Teresa (credited as Theresa in the film) were also notable.
12. On April 30, 2013, Jessica Chastain was attached to play the titular role as Antonina Żabińska in the film, while Niki Caro signed on to direct the film.
13. On August 24, 2015, Focus Features acquired the US rights to the film, and Daniel Brühl and Johan Heldenbergh signed on to star in the film
14. Filming began on the animals to be used in The Zookeeper’s Wife on September 9, 2015, but the actual principal photography with actors began on September 29, 2015, in Prague, Czech Republic.
15. Suzie Davies would serve as the production designer on The Zookeeper’s Wife, Andrij Parekh as the director of photography and Bina Daigeler as the costume designer.
16.In the United States and Canada the film grossed $3.3 million in its opening weekend from 541 theaters (a per-theater average of $6,191), finishing 10th at the box office
17. Peter Debruge of Variety noted that the story had a dispassionate feel, writing: “This powerful story of a woman who hid Jewish refugees in her husband’s zoo curiously leaves us caring more about the animals than its human souls.”
18. At the 2016 Heartland Film Festival, held each October in Indianapolis, Indiana, The Zookeeper’s Wife was awarded the “Truly Moving Picture Award”; emblematic of the festival’s goal to “inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film.