Helen Mirren Finds The Woman In Gold

In a drama with Daniel Bruhl and Ryan Reynolds

Helen Mirren

The Monuments Men may not have been critically adored, but that hasn't stopped The Weinstein Company from setting up another drama based on the Nazi art thefts of WWII. Woman In Gold is a different prospect, however, since the art in question wasn't returned to its owner until 2006, following a bitterly-fought court battle. Simon Curtis is directing the film, which will star Helen Mirren as the real-life Maria Altmann. She'll be supported by Ryan Reynolds as an attorney who takes her case, and Daniel Bruhl as Reynolds' adversary in court.

The Woman In Gold herself is not a person but a portrait by Gustav Klimt, depicting Altmann's aunt Adele Bloch-Bauer. It was one of five Klimt paintings deemed to belong to Altmann by the US Supreme Court, which ruled that she could sue for their return from the Austrian Gallery in Vienna in 2004.

Two years later she emerged from the case victorious. Some speculated that she had derived more satisfaction from beating the Austrians than from winning the paintings, which she quickly sold at auction for a total of £180m. The portrait of Adele is now in the Neue Gallery in Manhattan, while the other four pictures went to private hands. Altmann, who had fled from Germany to LIverpool in 1938 and then moved to LA in 1940, died a very rich woman in 2011.

It is, in short, sounding like a perfect feisty role for Empire Legend Mirren to sink her teeth into. Curtis, meanwhile, directed the BBC's Cranford (the BBC have a stake in this film too) and previously worked for the Weinsteins helming My Week With Marilyn. Woman In Gold is currently in pre-production.