Director Michael Hoffman's (A Midsummer Night's Dream, One Fine Day, Soapdish) Leo Tolstoy biopic The Last Station begins shooting April 7 in Germany with several more high-quality players on board. Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer join Paul Giamatti, James McAvoy, and McAvoy's wife Anne-Marie Duff in the film, which is based on Jay Parini's 1990 novel. Mirren and Plummer are replacing Meryl Streep and Anthony Hopkins in these roles.
According to Variety, the movie follows "the turbulent final year in the life of the Russian writer and philosopher and his troubled marriage." Plummer will play Tolstoy and Mirren will step into the role of Tolstoy's wife Sofia. Here's more:
Giamatti plays Tolstoy's trusted follower Chertkov, a supporter of the writer's nonviolent socialist Christian movement who becomes Sofia's cunning adversary, while McAvoy plays a naive private secretary sent by Chertkov to work for Tolstoy. British actress Anne-Marie Duff. . .stars as Tolstoy's daughter Sasha.
Interestingly, the movie has been largely financed by German film subsidy organizations, like the German Federal Film Board and the Federal Film Fund. Looks like the money is going to good use — this is one incredibly talented cast.