Zwick wasn’t always the devil, but, as Marge Schott reminded us before hacking and wheezing her way off this mortal coil, Hitler was a real swell fella in the beginning before he went too far. And just as Schott was full of rosin on that count, we were all saps to think Zwick was anything more than the baby boomers’ Stanley Kramer. My apologies if you enjoy your history simplified and whitened, or if you like Hitler.

Even though Zwick’s act is transparent as a backlit Rosamund Pike*, he never fails to attract A-list talent to enable his worst Hollywood liberal impulses. His latest benefactor is Daniel Craig, who might be the most popular actor in the world given that he just rescued the Bond franchise from decommissioning. Craig will star in Zwick’s Defiance, an epic tale of four Polish brothers who resolve to stand and fight alongside Russian resistance fighters in order to defend a band of fleeing Jews. As is almost always the case with Zwick, this is based on a true story. Fortunately for Zwick, it’s set in Eastern Europe, thus relieving him of having to shoehorn in a white savior of an exotic culture. That said, this project sounds like it sure could use some Leon Isaac Kennedy.

Unlike last year’s pricey Blood Diamond, Defiance is sporting a reasonable $50 million budget. The projected start date is this September, which sets the film up for an awards-courting late 2008 release date.