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The Left Side of History has all of the ingredients for a big screen World War II political thriller. But it would be an unconventional film since all of the protagonists are left-wing guerillas fighting against the Nazi-allied Bulgarian monarchy in the Balkan theater of the War. The actors would have to work hard to challenge the pervasive cultural stereotypes of communists as deluded revolutionaries. The book revolves around two sets of leftist dreamers: one British and one Bulgarian.Learn more about The Left Side of History at the Duke University Press website.
On the British side, the hero is Major Frank Thompson, a British Special Operations Executive officer who parachuted deep behind enemy lines in January 1944 to organize and support the Bulgarian partisans. Frank Thompson was a young idealist who joined the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1938 at the urging of his Oxford classmate, the writer Iris Murdoch. He enlisted to fight against the Axis powers two days before the official British declaration of war, and spent 1939-1943 in North Africa, the Middle East, and Italy before his final mission in the Balkans. Frank Thompson was the older brother of the famous labor historian, E.P. Thompson, and the Winchester schoolmate of the mathematician Freeman Dyson, both who also fought in WWII (E.P. Thompson in Italy and Dyson at British Bomber Command in London). I’d feel compelled to cast British actors, and I’d want some Himalayan acting talent.
My first thought for the role of Major Frank Thompson was Benedict Cumberbatch, but as Frank Thompson smoked a pipe I think it would be impossible for audiences to look at Cumberbatch with a pipe in his mouth and not think “Sherlock.” So my second choice is Tom Hiddleston because Frank Thompson was also a poet and a polyglot (he spoke nine languages), and I think Hiddleston could play the perfect sensitive action hero. David Tenant could play Frank’s younger brother, Edward Palmer Thompson, and Eddie...[read on]
My Book, The Movie: The Left Side of History.