Haley Joel Osment has been a lot of things -- a boy who sees dead people, a robot who wishes he were a real live boy, a boy who pays it forward, a boy who lives with his two eccentric uncles and some lion.
But Osment, at 20, is a boy no more, and the kind of roles that interest him now are the sort that would aid in the transition between cute little boy actor and serious young adult actor. So one of the next things he wants to be is a Hitler Youth -- in a film called "Truth & Treason."
"It's a true story," Osment explained. "Some teenage members of the Hitler Youth in 1941 were listening to secret BBC broadcasts on the radio. They were picking up the BBC in Hamburg, and they were hearing all these things about the war that obviously the Nazi propaganda machine wasn't relating to the public, and they ultimately rebelled and started a pamphlet campaign against Hitler."
Osment's character, Helmuth Hübener, thought he could change things "not with guns but words," and his slogans included "Hitler is a murderer" and "Hitler is the guilty one." He was the youngest resistance fighter to be sentenced to death by Nazi Germany's so-called "People's Court," the Volksgerichtshof -- even though he was only 17, he was tried as an adult and executed by guillotine. His cohorts, Rudulf Wobbe and Karl-Heinz Schnibbe, were sentenced to several years in a prison camp instead. Schnibbe, however, is still alive, and has been consulting on the film. "Fascinating, fascinating man," Osment said. "We've been using him as sort of our reality check."
Although shooting proper has yet to begin, they shot some initial footage at the end of last year, "which went splendidly," Osment said, so they have a trailer of sorts and plan to finish shooting in the new year. "It's a lot of different international partners going in on that," Osment said, "so we've just got to get all our ducks in a row. We're still plugging along and it's a fantastic story, and really timely considering the political issues that it encapsulates. I'll be excited when it gets off the ground."
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