The play is still in previews at Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre, but writer Dan Gordon is already eyeing a film version of Irena’s Vow, and he’s got a particular star in mind: Scarlett Johansson. Gordon, author of the screenplays for movies such as Passenger 57, Wyatt Earp and The Hurricane, told The New York Times that initial overtures have been made to Johansson to play World War II heroine Irena Gut Opdyke in an independent feature film version that he plans to adapt and direct himself this fall.
Tovah Feldshuh is playing Irena on Broadway in a performance in which she shifts from an old woman narrating her own story to flashback scenes as an 18-year-old Polish Catholic teenager. During the German occupation of Poland, Irena was forced to work as head housekeeper for a prominent Nazi major. During her two years of service, she risked her life in order to save the lives of 12 Jewish refugees whom she secretly took under her care.
Gordon told the Times that Feldshuh would be a strong candidate to play the older version of the character on film, depending on who is cast as the young Irena. “You have to buy and believe that this young woman you are looking at will age into this older woman,” he explained. “That said, I would love to have Tovah in the film.... Just look at pictures of Tovah in the blonde wig in Irena’s Vow and pictures of Scarlett. I could buy that in a heartbeat.”
The Broadway production of Irena’s Vow began previews on March 10 and will open on March 29, directed by Michael Parva.