Excuse Me, Did You Say Hilary Swank?

Academy Award-winner to portray Emory professor in biopic

Time to Shine:Deborah Lipstadt (left), Hilary Swank

Emory historian Deborah Lipstadt’s acclaimed 2005 book, History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier, which chronicles her exoneration by a British court in a sensational libel trial, is being made into a feature film titled Denial.

The cast is notable, to put it mildly: Two-time Academy Award–winner Hilary Swank is attached to play Lipstadt, and two-time Academy Award–nominee Tom Wilkinson is attached to play Lipstadt’s barrister.

“I am delighted that this is coming to fruition,” says Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory. “It’s been in the works for a while, but I never quite imagined it would come to be.” 

Adapted for the screen by Academy Award–nominated writer David Hare (The Reader, The Hours), the book recounts Lipstadt’s legal battle for historical truth against British author David Irving, who sued her for libel when she declared him a Holocaust denier. In the English legal system, the burden of proof is on the accused, so it was up to Lipstadt and her legal team to prove the essential truth that the Holocaust happened and Irving had manipulated data to make history vanish.

The film will be directed by Emmy Award– winner Mick Jackson (Temple Grandin, The Bodyguard) and produced by Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff under their Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment banner alongside Shoebox Films.

“To have a script by David Hare, one of the great playwrights and screenwriters of our time, and to be played by Hilary Swank, who is not only winner of two Oscars but who has an uncanny ability to ‘become’ the character she is playing, is all a bit more than I ever imagined possible,” Lipstadt says.

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