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New film on Armenian genocide took two years to make, longer to realize


Charlotte Le Bon, Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale star in a scene from the movie "The Promise." The film dramatizes the genocide of Armenians in the Turkish-ruled Ottoman Empire at the outset of World War I. (CNS photo/Open Road Films)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- "The Promise," a film dramatizing the genocide of Armenians in the Turkish-ruled Ottoman Empire at the outset of World War I, was two years in the making, but probably a half-century in the idea stage, according to George Winter, one of the movie's producers.

Kirk Kerkorian, the Armenian-American who owned the MGM studio 1969-86, had wanted to make a film about the genocide, but could not. "It was a controversial topic, even when he owned the company," Winter told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview from Los Angeles April 13 -- the day after a preview screening at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in L.A. attended by Armenian-American celebrities Cher and the Kardashian sisters.

Before Kerkorian died in 2015, "he set aside the money and wrote the check" to get the movie made "at the quality level he wanted it," Winter said.

"The Promise" stars Oscar Isaac as an Armenian medical student in Constantinople (now Istanbul) and Christian Bale as a globetrotting Associated Press correspondent detailing the growing horror of the genocide -- when he's not drinking. They also happen to be romantic rivals for Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), a governess in the home of the Isaac character's uncle, with whom he is staying while attending medical school.

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