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Dec 2013
Movies, Testament Of Youth  −  By 0 Comments

DAILYMAILAlicia Vikander, the fast-rising Swedish-born actress, will portray World War I writer and pacifist Vera Brittain in a film based on her seminal memoir Testament Of Youth.

It is about the generation — including Brittain’s brother, fiancé and other close friends — who lost their lives during the Great War.

The movie — which is being produced by David Heyman and BBC Films — will go before cameras in the spring to be ready for a Remembrance Sunday release next year, which also marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the war.

Brittain’s book also chronicles her own battles with her father over her determination to go to university, as her brother had.

By 1915, she felt compelled to do what she could to help the war effort, so Brittain (the mother of Liberal Democrat politician Shirley Williams), joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment to tend those who had been wounded at the front.

But more than anything, it’s a heart-breaking story of the once-gilded youth hurled into what war poet Wilfred Owen called the ‘scorching cautery’ of war.

By the time of the Armistice in 1918, Brittain had lost her brother, Edward, her fiancé, Roland Leighton, and close family friends Geoffrey Thurlow and Victor Richards.

Brittain’s memoir, published in 1933, became an instant classic, but during World War II its pacifist sensibility was frowned upon.

However, the BBC produced an acclaimed five-part drama which pushed the book onto the bestseller list.

Reading it again now, it makes you demand to know why our fighting men were sent to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ms Vikander has just finished work on Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Alex Garland’s mad scientist drama Ex Machina.

After she completes Testament Of Youth for director James Kent (his TV drama The Thirteenth Tale with Vanessa Redgrave and Olivia Colman is being shown on BBC2 on New Year’s Eve), she will move onto the long-awaited movie Tulip Fever, with Justin Chadwick (who made the Mandela movie) as director.

Dane DeHaan will be her leading man in Tulip Fever, while Christoph Waltz and Bill Nighy are being discussed for the other main male role, though it depends on dates as to which one will do it.

Talking of dates, it had been hoped that Saoirse Ronan, star of Hanna, would portray Vera Brittain. But she is due to start another movie, Brooklyn, at the same time Testament Of Youth will be shooting.

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