Colin Firth to Play Jewish Underground Leader in 'The Promised Land'

Michael Winterbottom set to direct film depicting Jewish resistance during the British Mandate.

Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen are lining up alongside Jim Sturgess to star in Michael Winterbottom's new film The Promised Land, the film's backers said Sunday.

Due to start shooting in late summer, The Promised Land is billed as a political crime thriller set in British-ruled Palestine at the end of World War II, and covers the period leading to the establishment of Israel.

Firth has been cast as Avraham Stern, the leader of the Underground organization Lehi, which lead a violent campaign against the British Mandate in Palestine during the 1930s and 1940s. The British authorities also called the Lehi "The Stern Gang."

Winterbottom, who also directed "24 Hour Party People," and "Wonderland," traveled to the Berlin film festival to present his Western crime drama "The Killer Inside Me" in competition, where he will announce the casting for his new project.

Sturgess and Macfadyen will play British police officers trying to end the Jewish revolutionaries and underground groups' violent campaign to expel the British, which culminated in the 1946 attack on the British headquarters at King David Hotel in Jerusalem that left dozens of British soldiers dead.