Actor Brad Pitt attends the ‘Killing Them Softly’ Premiere during 65th Annual Cannes Film Festivalon May 22, 2012. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
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Brad Pitt, IBM, and the Holocaust

Pitt to direct a movie about the technology giant’s role in the Holocaust

Adam Chandler
September 12, 2012
Actor Brad Pitt attends the 'Killing Them Softly' Premiere during 65th Annual Cannes Film Festivalon May 22, 2012. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Out of Tinseltown (assuming people still call it that) comes the news that Brad Pitt will be taking his wonkish talents from the intricacies of Moneyball, his film about baseball sabermetrics to the intricacies of Nazi efficiency in a film about IBM’s role in the Holocaust. The flick-to-be is based on the 2001 book “IBM and the Holocaust.” New York Magazine provides a little bit of background on the project and on the history of how the collaboration between IBM and the Nazis came to be:

The short answer is that IBM’s then-chief executive, Thomas Watson, formed a strategic alliance with Nazi Germany starting in 1933. Punch cards were used to help sort through mountains of German census information, cross-referencing data about the mother tongue, religion, nationality, profession, and location of 66 million Germans to quickly and ruthlessly identify, tax, ghettoize, deport, and ultimately exterminate [sic] Europe’s 6 million Jews.

Pitt’s IBM and the Holocaust project had been set up at HBO but was never announced, and as late as last January was still gathering steam as a feature film with a script by Marcus Hinchey (who penned the 2010 Ryan Gosling true crime thriller, All Good Things). But insiders now tell us that the project has left the pay-cable outfit, and Pitt’s Plan B production company is shopping the project around to find it a new home on cable TV or, increasingly likely, as a theatrically released feature. Sources familiar with the project say that Pitt has attached himself to star in the project in order to attract directors, even though a Plan B insider insisted that Pitt was not formally attached to star, and might not ultimately.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.