INTERVIEW: Jessica Chastain and Niki Caro Explain How Their Holocaust Movie Ended Up Being a Modern Film

The Zookeeper’s Wife tells the true story of a Polish couple who housed Jews in the Warsaw Zoo during the Holocaust, and were able to save the lives of more than 300 from the Warsaw Ghetto. The heartbreaking movie stars Jessica Chastain in the unforgettable role of Antonina Żabińska, and is directed by Niki Caro.

The movie is unique in it’s feminine perspective on a grueling war saga, and thanks to it’s inclusion of many wild animal actors: Chastain’s roster of scene partners include real tigers, elephants, camels, polar bears, skunks, and lions. Interestingly enough, the film, set in the early to mid twentieth century, feels alarmingly modern.

“Well, the world’s changed,” said Caro when asked about the film’s relevancy. “Seven years ago, when I became involved in this movie, I thought I was developing a historical drama. As it happens, we have made a contemporary film.”

Take a look at our exclusive BlackBook interview with the film’s star and director below.

Jessica Chastain Stars as ‘The Zookeeper’s Wife’ (Watch)

Not the time traveler, the zookeeper.

Jessica Chastain will star in the upcoming Holocaust drama The Zookeeper’s Wife, the first trailer for which was released yesterday. In it, Chastain, indeed, plays the wife of a zookeeper, and the film is set at the Warsaw Zoo. It follows the true story of Antonina and Jan Żabiński, who saved 200 Jews from the Ghetto by hiding them, following the German invasion of Poland.

The film is directed by Niki Caro and based upon the novel by Diane Ackerman. Johan Heldenbergh plays the zookeeper, Jan, and Daniel Brühl plays Nazi Lutz Heck.

Check out the trailer below: