The first trailer for The Zookeeper’s Wife, Jessica Chastain’s next movie—after Miss Sloane, which comes out in December—has just been released and it’s given me a whole new anxiety. And that is: What happens to zoo animals during war?! This is not the point of The Zookeeper’s Wife, but this is what I am now fixated on after watching the trailer. I don’t know why it had never really occurred to me before, but of course zoo animals would be endangered by war, too. That shot of the animals unable to escape an air raid bombing is heartbreaking. Set that clip to Sarah McLachlan singing sadly and watch the money roll in, ASPCA.
The Zookeeper’s Wife is really about a woman using her family’s zoo in Poland to hide Jews fleeing Nazi roundups, making this kind of a lady version of Schindler’s List. Chastain stars as the wife, Antonina Zabinski, and the trailer is a little fuzzy on this but it seems like maybe her husband gets taken, too? At the beginning of the trailer her husband is Belgian actor Johan Heldenbergh, but in the middle she seems to be living with Daniel Brühl? Obviously there’s some personal life drama happening around the zoo and war drama. And given that Brühl is playing a Nazi—again—I don’t really like where speculation leads. This trailer shows beautiful exotic animals and bunbun friends, but it’s all tainted by the much darker sh*t afoot. Nazis: Ruining Everything Since 1933.
Zookeeper is due in March 2017, which is not traditionally strong Oscar territory, but distributors are beginning to parcel out films throughout the year—cramming all the Oscar hopefuls into the last two months of the year doesn’t help anyone—so maybe, if it’s a really good movie or Chastain is exceptional in it, it could be the kind of thing that comes back around at the end of the year. She has an Oscar hopeful this year, Miss Sloane, but it’s not feeling like her year, either. I wonder if she has a sort of RDJ approach of thinking, “I’ll get one eventually, no need to stress”, or if she’ll be like Sandra Bullock “wearing them down” over time until she gets hers. I also wonder if Daniel Brühl gets tired of playing Nazis.