BAFTA and Oscar winner Kevin Macdonald (“The Mauritanian”) will direct true story “The Iceman” written by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Jeff Pope (“Philomena”).

The film stars Joseph Fiennes (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) as prolific and larger-than-life extreme athlete Wim Hof, who is best known for his breathing-focused workout in freezing temperatures called the Wim Hof Method.

Cornerstone has boarded the project for worldwide sales and will launch the title at next month’s virtual European Film Market.

A widower who worked as a postman and struggled to support his four children, Hof turned to the cold and breathing to find peace and strength. Locals would discover him delivering their letters with bare feet in the dead of the Netherlands winter, or swimming alone in ice-cold lakes. The pain forced him to focus, and to breathe. Hof’s seemingly superhuman abilities were discovered, and his private ritual became an overnight sensation, leading him to be known as The Iceman and changing his family’s lives forever.

Macdonald said: “Wim is someone who has suffered a terrible trauma — the loss of his wife — and finds an entirely new way to deal with the depression that comes with that experience. Jeff Pope has written a brilliant script – full of humour and humanity and emotions. In it we are introduced to the Dutch suburbs – a world of crazy stunts, a broken family, a love affair and an epiphany. This is a film about resilience, second chances and the amazing ability of the human body and mind to heal.”

Fiennes said: “I am very passionate about ‘The Iceman’ and I am honoured to play the great Wim Hof. His story is inspirational, at times deeply funny, searingly painful and ultimately healing. In addition to exploring his amazing feats, I hope to bring the lesser-known aspects of his extraordinary life to screen. I am incredibly excited to be in the world class company of Kevin Macdonald, screen writer Jeff Pope and wonderful Debbie Gray, making this experience a chance of a lifetime.”

“The Iceman” is a Genesius Pictures production and is produced by Debbie Gray (“Good Luck to You, Leo Grande”) and Joesph Fiennes. It will start shooting November 2022.

Cornerstone’s Alison Thompson and Mark Gooder added: “Never has there been a better time to make a film about the power of positivity and self-healing and the extraordinary man who is inspiring millions of people around the world.”

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