Artist Helmer, Tom Hanks Enter A “Garden”

Filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”) is in talks to direct an adaptation of Erik Larson’s nonfiction book “In The Garden Of Beasts” at Universal Pictures and Playtone says Deadline.

Tom Hanks will star as William Dodd, a mild-mannered Chicago professor in the early 1930’s who becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany before the Nazis began to assert an iron grip across Europe.

At first his family embraces the vibrant Berlin scene. He soon hears murmurs of anti-Jew violence, advising the U.S. State Department who brush it off. As censorship grows and radical laws come into place, he comes to realise the horrific genocide that Hitler has planned.

Natalie Portman is being courted to play Hanks’ daughter in the film, but she is not yet set as things are still early. Hazanavicius is preparing to work on a draft with a yet-to-be-hired writer. Gary Goetzman will also produce.