‘Breaking Bad’ Director Michelle MacLaren Helming WWII Movie ‘The Nightingale’

     August 11, 2016


When Michelle MacLaren was going to trade the worlds of Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones for that of Themyscira by helming the Wonder Woman movie, it seemed like the perfect fit: a prominent female director who won two Emmys for her work with Heinzenberg was going to lead Gal Gadot through the first ever feature film about the Amazonian warrior woman. That ended up falling through, but now MacLaren has a new project.

According to Variety, she’s now aboard to direct The Nightingale, a film adaptation of the Kristin Hannah historical-fiction novel of the same name. Ann Peacock penned the screenplay with drafts done by MacLaren and John Sayles, while Elizabeth Cantillon is producing.


Image via AMC

The Nightingale is the story of two sisters living in France in 1939, a time when the Nazis from Germany invaded areas of France during World War II. It’s here where these women with varying experiences, must fight for their survival. MacLaren reportedly left Wonder Woman over creative differences, giving Patty Jenkins room to step in, but it seems waiting for the right project to come along paid off.

As it happens, Hannah told The Washington Times during an interview last year that a film version of her book would fill a void. “First of all, I’m a huge movie buff and I love war movies in general,” she said. “The idea that we could watch an epic war movie that was anchored by female characters and female issues and female choices, I just think it’s kind of a game changer.

Here’s the book’s synopsis from Amazon:

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France … but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.


Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can … completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.


With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

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