Woody Harrelson is set to play a starring role in the filmic adaptation of The Man With the Miraculous Hands: The Fantastic Story of Felix Kersten, Himmler’s Private Doctor. The film is based on the WWII novel of the same title by French author and journalist Joseph Kessel, originally published in 1960.
Oscar-nominated screenwriter Oren Moverman will write and direct the feature, marking a collaborative reunion between the filmmaker and Harrelson. The two have previously worked together on The Messenger (2009), for which they both received Oscar noms, and Rampart (2011).
Kessel’s novel tells the true story of Felix Kersten, a Finnish physician intimidated into the role of Heinrich Himmler’s personal doctor during the war. Kersten’s adroit massage techniques and medical training remedied the chronic abdominal pains of the Third Reich’s second most powerful member. The physician also used his intellectual prowess as leverage in an exchange of his services for the safety of thousands of concentration camp prisoners throughout the Holocaust.
The Man With the Miraculous Hands will be produced by Eric Jehelmann, Philippe Rousselet, and Jerico Films, a division of Vendome Group, a banner which recently backed the film CODA. Executive producers are listed as Fabrice Gianfermi and Jeremy Plager.
Harrelson can be seen in the upcoming Marvel movie Venom: Let There Be Carnage with Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams expected this fall. He also stars in the assassin thriller Kate alongside Mary Elizabeth Winstead, which appears to be in post-production. Director Oren Moverman recently served as executive producer on the Sundance success Passing (2021).