In “Walking with the Enemy,” which opens Friday, April 25, Jonas Armstrong plays a young man who who, in Hungary during the final months of World War ll, sets out to find his displaced family by stealing a Nazi uniform to pose as an officer. He undertakes extraordinary measures to reroute his family and other Jews to safety by disrupting the activities of the German occupiers.
Listen to “Breakthrough Entertainment” and Phoenix Movie Examiner's full interview with Schmidt by clicking on the image above this article. The following is an excerpt from the interview in which the director discusses his research process and execution.
“I came across this individual who risked his life to do what he could to save innocent people. It was not just totally on him - it was other people, too - but I started investigating through some old books about the history of what happened back then and his name popped up here and there. I went back to the little town where he was and talked to people and it seemed like the older people knew the history but the younger people really didn't.
“We met with the Horthy family - relatives of the leader Regent Horthy (Ben Kingsley) - and they helped give a little insight into it. We also met with the family of Pinchas Rosenbaum (who was the inspiration for this story). And we met with the daughter of Carl Lutz (William Hope) - the Swiss diplomat that helped save some innocent lives - along with a lot of survivors. We talked to somewhere between 35 and 50 people.
“It was quite interesting to hear the stories of these people. We are so lucky that our relatives didn't go through the horror and the terror they had gone through over there in Hungary during World War II. We tried to film it as tastefully as possible without making it too horrific where it was just unbearable to watch. We were trying to keep it as real as possible yet do it as tastefully as possible. We were always watching that fine line.” - Mark Schmidt