Actors Luke Evans, Jacob Tremblay and Olga Kurylenko are in talks to star in “Bear Season,” a new coming-of-age immigrant drama from director Simon Aboud (“This Beautiful Fantastic”).
Adapted by Donald Martin (“Milton’s Secret”) from Bernie Hafeli’s eponymous novel, “Bear Season” is the story of Chester (Tremblay), an adolescent boy living in post-WWII Detroit with his Polish immigrant mother Olona (Kurylenko) and his deceased father’s brother Izzy (Evans), a rough-around-the-edges former soldier.
Izzy, struggling to adapt to life after the war and suffering from what today would be diagnosed as PTSD, drinks too much and likes to spin a yarn, particularly the story of his brother, Chester’s father, who served in the military alongside Wojtek, a legendary soldier bear. Nobody aside from Chester believes Izzy’s stories, but the boy’s unwavering faith sparks a road trip to uncover the truth of his father’s story and to confirm Wojtek’s existence.
“Donald’s script based on Bernie’s novel was so moving, hopeful, and redemptive, I couldn’t put it down until I was done crying at the end,” recalls Harris. “It’s the kind of movie I want to see, and I think many others will as well. We’re very lucky to have Simon as director and to have attracted this perfect cast.”
“’Bear Season’ is an incredibly intimate portrait of three Polish immigrant family members trying to process their grief,” says Aboud. “Set against the post-war world of relentless industry and progress that was Detroit in 1951, they are the living casualties of WWII. This is a very powerful story of hope and belief, of a boy who bets everything on the truth of his uncle’s drunken stories and the existence of a bear. I’ve always been drawn to road movies and this one has real magic to it.”
“When I read Bernie’s novel,” adds Martin, “and learned of the existence of the actual bear named Wojtek, enlisted as a private in the Polish Allied Forces, drinking beer, smoking, and loading cannons in the fight against the Nazis, I knew that I had to write this script.”