The movie adaptation of Bernie Hafeli’s novel tells the story of Chester, an adolescent boy living in post-WWII Detroit with his Polish immigrant mother Olona and his deceased father’s brother Izzy, a troubled former soldier.
The Room star is in talks to play the role of young Chester, while the Beauty and the Beast actor is in discussions for Izzy and Kurylenko would play Olona, according to Variety.
Izzy, who is suffering from what would be called PTSD today, likes to drink and tells stories, particularly ones about his brother, Chester’s father, who served in the military alongside Wojtek, a legendary soldier bear. Only Chester believes Izzy’s tales, but the boy’s unwavering faith kickstarts a road trip to uncover the truth of his father’s story and Wojtek’s possible existence.
Simon Aboud will direct the movie from a screenplay by Donald Martin, and the project is being produced by J. Todd Harris and Colette Aguilar.
“Bear Season is an incredibly intimate portrait of three Polish immigrant family members trying to process their grief,” said Aboud in a statement to the publication. “Set against the post-war world of relentless industry and progress that was Detroit in 1951, they are the living casualties of WWII. This is a very powerful story of hope and belief, of a boy who bets everything on the truth of his uncle’s drunken stories and the existence of a bear. I’ve always been drawn to road movies and this one has real magic to it.”
Producer Harris added, “Donald’s script based on Bernie’s novel was so moving, hopeful, and redemptive, I couldn’t put it down until I was done crying at the end. It’s the kind of movie I want to see, and I think many others will as well.”