Jason Isaacs is to play the role of the Soviet Union’s greatest military leader in a dark comedy film to premiere in two months.
The Death of Stalin is directed by Armando Iannucci, the creator of political satire shows The Thick of It and Veep. Co-written by him, Ian Martin and Jewish comedian David Schneider, it focuses on the power struggle between different members of the Soviet politburo in the immediate aftermath of Stalin’s death.
Isaacs, the Jewish actor from Liverpool, plays Marshal Georgi Zhukov, the soldier who led the USSR’s advance to Berlin in World War Two. In the trailer he can be seen telling Steve Buscemi, who plays Nikita Kruschev: “I took Germany; I think I can take a flesh lump in a waistcoat”, a reference to NKVD chief Lavrenti Beria, played by Simon Russell Beale.
Isaacs is not the only Jewish actor in the production. Jeffrey Tambor plays the hapless Georgy Malenkov, Stalin’s Deputy, as a buffoon entirely out of his depth in the power vacuum left by the death of the Soviet Union’s most infamous leader.
The Death of Stalin is due for release in UK cinemas on October 20.