Hollywood has inflicted revenge on Nazis many times, though with varying degrees of adherence to fact. In the forthcoming film Anthropoid, director and co-writer Sean Ellis dramatizes the true story of the 1942 operation, from which the movie takes its name, to assassinate one of the main architects of the Holocaust, Reinhard Heydrich.
This weighty mission, designed by the British Special Operations Executive, fell on the shoulders of two Czechoslovakian operatives, Josef Gabčík (played by Cillian Murphy) and Jan Kubiš (Jamie Dornan). When Gabčík and Kubiš are parachuted into their occupied homeland at the close of 1941, their resources are as limited as their task is great: take out Hitler’s third-in-command, a figure the Führer himself dubbed “the man with the iron heart.”
In the clip above, premiering exclusively on TIME, Murphy and Dornan’s soldiers lay out the challenge that lies before them only to be met with impassioned skepticism. “You kill Heydrich and Hitler will tear Prague apart,” goes the warning. It’s a threat that not only makes for compelling drama, but one that history bore out: Operation Anthropoid was followed by brutal reprisals, with thousands of Czechs murdered in retaliation.
Discussing his role at a press conference last year, Dornan said that his character’s mission is one he had little trouble identifying with. “This is murder in a sense,” he said, “but it’s for a greater good.”
Anthropoid hits theaters Aug. 12.
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