Anthropoid (2016): Sean Ellis’ WWII Drama about Heydrich, Starring Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy

Bleecker Street has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Sean Ellis’ World War II drama Anthropoid, starring Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy.

The film is based on “Operation Anthropoid,” the code name for the Czech operatives’ mission to assassinate SS officer Reinhard Heydrich.

The main architect behind Adolf Hitler’s Final Solution, Heydrich was the Reich’s third in command behind Hitler and Heinrich Himmler. He was also the leader of Nazi forces in Czechoslovakia.

The tale follows two soldiers from the Czech army-in-exile, Josef Gabčík (Murphy) and Jan Kubiš (Dornan), who are parachuted into their occupied homeland in December of 1941.

With limited intelligence and little equipment in a city under lockdown, they must find a way to assassinate Heydrich.

Ellis directed from a screenplay he wrote with Anthony Frewin.

The film also stars Charlotte Le Bon, Ana Geislerová, Harry Lloyd, Bill Milner and Toby Jones. Ellis, Mickey Liddell and Pete Shilaimon produced.

Bleecker Street CEO Andrew Karpen said, “Sean Ellis’ film drops you right into the center of resistance in WWII and takes viewers on an emotional ride all the way through its heart-stopping finale. We’re proud to partner with Mickey and Pete on this film which we feel will resonate with adult audiences this summer.”

The Karlovy Vary Film Fest opened Friday with the world premiere of Anthropoid, Sean Ellis’ World War II thriller set in Czechoslovakia.

Presenting his competition picture, Ellis said his story of two soldiers who return to their native Czechoslovakia on a secret mission to assassinate a high-ranking Nazi official had been a 15-year-long obsession.

“It’s been a long journey to bring it all the way home to the Czech Republic tonight for you,” Ellis said. “It’s a great honor. I dedicate this film to the men and women of the former Czechoslovakia who stood up against tyranny with indomitable spirit and sacrificed everything for what they believed.”

Dornan added: “We realized what an important story this is to the Czech Republic and we felt a great deal of pressure to tell it in an appropriate way and honor the men and women involved. I really hope that we’ve done that. We’re very proud of the movie and I hope that we’ve done the country proud as well.”

The Czech Ministry of Defense was instrumental in supporting the project, which shot in the country and in the city of Prague as well as at Barrandov Studio.