Cannes: Cyrus Nowrasteh To Helm Film On Soviet Dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Primeridian Entertainment has hired Cyrus Nowrasteh to write and direct a film on Soviet dissident and Nobel Prize-winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Producing will be Primeridian’s Arcadiy Golubovich and Tim O’Hair, who’ll provide equity financing for their first feature under the banner. They’ve optioned D.M. Thomas’ Orwell Prize-winning biography Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Century In His Life. Nowrasteh, who last helmed The Stoning Of Soriah M and whose TV work includes The Day Reagan Was Shot and the controversial Path to 9/11, will write the script with wife Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh. They just adapted Anne Rice’s Christ The Lord.

“It’s a privilege to tell the courageous story of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,” said the director. “Millions suffered and died in the Soviet labor camps. As a survivor, he resolved to tell the world about it. The power of his pen, despite the suppression of his work and every effort to silence his voice, helped bring about the downfall of one of the greatest tyrannies mankind has ever known.”

Said Primeridian’s Golubovich: “As a Russian nonconformist and activist as well as a towering literary figure, Solzhenitsyn’s life makes for a compelling feature film, and we are thrilled to be bringing Cyrus’ talent on board to weave this fascinating story.”

Solzhenitsyn was a Red Army officer who, after being accused of anti-Soviet propaganda, was imprisoned by Stalin in the gulag system in February 1945. The period later became the basis for his three-volume The Gulag Archipelago, a chronicle of his ordeal as captive in the Soviet forced labor camp system, unacknowledged during the Stalinist era. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970, was expelled from the former Soviet Union in 1974, and lived in exile in Vermont until he was able to return to Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the mid-1990s. Solzhenitsyn died in 2008. Nowrasteh is repped by CAA.

(This article originally appeared here at Deadline: Hollywood, 5/17/13)