David Mamet to helm Disney’s Anne Frank

Aug 12, 2009
Rachel Helyer-Donaldson

Macho playwright, writer and director David Mamet is the surprising choice to direct a new Disney film based on the diaries of Anne Frank

David Mamet, the American playwright, scriptwriter and director who is known for his tough macho characters and terse, street-smart dialogue – sometimes known as 'Mamet-speak' - is the surprise choice to write and direct a new version of the 1959 film The Diary of Anne Frank for Disney.

Variety reports that Mamet will rework Anne Frank's famous diary, The Diary of a Young Girl, written as she and her family hid from the Nazis in a wartime Amsterdam attic, as the story of a young girl's rite of passage. He will amalgamate the diary, published posthumously after Frank died aged 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and the 1954 stage adaptation by husband-and-wife playwrights Albert Hacker and Frances Goodrich, on which the 1959 film was based.

Some of Mamet's best works include his 1987 directorial film debut House of Games, praised for its inventive plot tricks; Glengarry Glenross, his Pulitzer Prize-winning play and film about Chicago's gritty real estate scene; and his script for Wag the Dog, Barry Levinson's 1987 film about a Washington spin doctor, starring Robert de Niro and Dustin Hoffman.

But though Mamet and Frank may appear poles apart, Anne was no literary slouch. The dramatist Meyer Levin lauded her diary's tension and construction while John F Kennedy called Frank the "most compelling" voice "to have spoken for human dignity in times of great suffering and loss".

Meanwhile Mamet will also try his hand as a Broadway director when he opens his new play, Race, in December.

Sign up for our daily newsletter