Anthony Hopkins Holocaust Feature ‘One Life’ Amends Marketing Materials to Include Jews Following Backlash (EXCLUSIVE)
The marketing materials for Anthony Hopkins latest feature film, a Holocaust biopic titled “One Life,” are set to be amended after controversy ensued over the lack of reference to Jews.
“One Life” tells the story of Nicholas Winton (played by Hopkins), better known as the British Oscar Schindler. Winton helped save the lives of over 600 children – the majority of them Jewish – from the Nazis during World War II.
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But there has been disquiet over marketing for the movie after it was claimed Jews had been erased from the synopsis.
The furore started after British media retailer HMV tweeted about the film and referred to the children saved by Winton as “Central European” rather than Jewish. A number of independent cinemas also used the term “Central European” instead of “Jewish” while describing the film on their websites.
See-Saw Films, who produced “One Life,” and Warner Bros. Pictures., who are distributing it in the U.K., subsequently also came under fire for omitting the word “Jewish” from their marketing materials when describing the children saved by Winton, although they did not use “Central European.”
Warner Bros. in the U.K. declined to comment but Variety understands that following the criticism all Warner’s official marketing for the film will be amended to describe the children as “predominantly Jewish,” which reflects the fact that while most of the 600+ Czechoslovakian children were Jewish, a handful of them were non-Jewish political refugees.
A source close to the film was keen to stress that the term “Central European” had not been supplied by the filmmakers or distributors but suggested it had likely been added by an unauthorized third party on IMDb, where it was then picked up by HMV (who have since deleted their tweet) and the independent cinemas.
“The filmmakers were sensitive to the fact that one hundred of the children were not Jewish, they were political refugees, and made a decision that it was important to be inclusive,” said the source, who added that the events of Oct. 7 – which saw over 1,400 people killed by Hamas in Israel – did not have any bearing on the film’s marketing materials.
A BFI press release from August announcing “One Life” as the gala screening during the London Film Festival did not use the term “Central European” but nor did it specify the children were Jewish. (“ONE LIFE tells the true story of Sir Nicholas ‘Nicky’ Winton, a young London broker played by Hopkins, who, in the months leading up to World War II, rescued 669 children from the Nazis,” is how the BFI described the movie.)
“There was no desire to take away an association with the Jewish community,” the source said. “There was never any intent to cause offence [by the filmmakers]. They’re very proud of the film.”
A request has since been logged with IMDb for the synopsis on the site to be changed. Warner Bros.’s U.K. site and one of the U.K.’s largest theatrical chains, Vue, have also amended the synopsis to read “predominantly Jewish.”
Winton’s work went largely unacknowledged until, in 1988, he appeared on British talk show “That’s Life.” When the host Esther Rantzen asked if any of the audience were in the room thanks to Winton, a large portion of them stood up: Rantzen had arranged for the survivors and their descendants to attend and surprise him. The scene plays a central role in “One Life.”