Al Pacino is appearing in Amazon’s new series Hunters where the actor plays a wealthy Holocaust survivor leading a covert gang of assassins, tracking and killing hundreds of former high-ranking Nazi officials that are living in secret in 1970s New York.
“This was one of the craziest and most original stories I have read in a long time,” said Pacino at the show’s premiere in Los Angeles. “It’s inspired by true-life events that happened in this country. It’s scary stuff…. You really can’t believe it. What appealed to me is the eccentric story. Sometimes it’s outright horrifying, and then it’s tongue in cheek and deep with tragic emotion. I love that in a story.”
The series weaves historical facts such as the real-life US government initiative Operation Paperclip, which brought more than 1,000 Nazi scientists to America after the end of World War II and references to real-life Nazi hunters like Simon Wiesentha. Series creator David Weil came up with the show’s concept five years ago and was inspired by the stories his grandmother told him as a young boy.
“My grandmother was a Holocaust survivor, and she would tell me stories about the war and what she experienced,” said Weil. “I want to continue her story, and what I really want to accomplish with the show is to keep the memory. The greatest gift to the Jewish people is the capacity to remember. Our memory is such a vital weapon. It ensures things like the Holocaust never happens again. Memory is such an important theme and a motif for the show. It’s also a quest to remind people what happened, especially with the anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia in our world today.”
Jordan Peele, the comedian turned horror director, is the show’s executive producer. He quickly jumped at the chance to finance the “well-researched” and “emotional” project as it related to representation.
“I saw myself in him, because I knew he had a story that was about representation,” Peele told the audience before debuting the first episode of Hunters. “It was personal, it was social and it was a catharsis. It was a story that I wanted to see, and had to see. I knew he had something special. I’m very proud of this show.”
Pacino particularly relished having a role that calls for physical acting and some fight sequences. “I still have fun with action scenes. I did more of that as a youngster,” said the 79-year-old star. “I really enjoyed it, and still do. I like the challenge. Let’s rehearse and I’ll be ready.”
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