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24 September 2014
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15.01.02

TV DRAMA

Kenneth Branagh, Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth star in Conspiracy, an award-winning HBO Films/BBC Films co-production for BBC TWO

On January 20th 1942, 15 men gathered in a villa on the outskirts of Berlin to feast on food and drink and discuss their business at hand. An hour and a half later, the Final Solution had been planned, sealing the fate of millions of European Jews.

Conspiracy: The Meeting at Wannsee - which was recently nominated for three Golden Globe Awards and won two Emmy Awards - stars Kenneth Branagh as Reinhard Heydrich, Stanley Tucci as Adolf Eichmann and Colin Firth as Dr. Wilhelm Stuckart. It recreates one of the most infamous gatherings in world history - the meeting at Wannsee, outside Berlin, when the administrative apparatus of the Third Reich was mobilised by Reinhard Heydrich to set in motion the detailed plans of the Final Solution.

Adolf Eichmann prepared 30 top-secret copies of the meeting’s minutes. By the fall of the Reich, they had all disappeared or been destroyed - all but one. Conspiracy is based on the sole surviving copy of the “Wannsee Protocol,” which was found in the files of the Reich’s Foreign Office. It is one of the few written “proofs” of the extent of Hitler’s plans to annihilate all of European Jewry.

Written by Loring Mandel and directed by Frank Pierson, Conspiracy: The Meeting at Wannsee is shown as part of a number of programmes commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day. The film also stars David Threlfall, Ian McNeice, Ben Daniels, Kevin McNally, Ewan Stewart and Nicholas Woodeson.

Conspiracy, an HBO Films/BBC Films co-production, recently received three nominations at the 2002 Golden Globe Awards: Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television; Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (for Kenneth Branagh); and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture (for Stanley Tucci). It also won two major awards at the 53rd Annual Prime Time Emmy awards: Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for Kenneth Branagh and Writing for a Miniseries or a Movie for Loring Mandel.

Kenneth Branagh says of Reinhard Heydrich: “He displayed a dazzling economy of effort. Just by the force of his personality, his determination to push it through and his superb management skills, he was able to ensure that the most catastrophic event of the 20th century was initiated in just 90 minutes.”

Conspiracy: The Meeting at Wannsee was critically acclaimed when it was shown on HBO. The Los Angeles Times described it as “an uncomfortably real, brilliantly realised reprise of the Jan. 20, 1942, gathering,” and concluded that “Most notable is Kenneth Branagh’s smarmy SS Gen. Heydrich, aiming his eyes menacingly when not being charming and witty, the glib ideal host for a dinner party, and for a hanging.” The Hollywood Reporter said that the film “points out the stunning ease with which the seeds of mass evil can germinate and thrive,” and wrote that “Leads Kenneth Branagh and Stanley Tucci turn in exceptional, restrained performances.”

The producer is Nick Gillot, and the executive producers are Frank Pierson, Frank Doelger, David M. Thompson and Peter Zinner.


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