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The Survivor Release Date, Cast, And Plot - What We Know So Far

American actor Ben Foster certainly deserves a spot on any list of Hollywood's most underrated stars. With impressive turns in the likes "Alpha Dog," "Hell or High Water," and "Leave No Trace," he's a welcome and often unexpected addition to just about any film he turns up in. Very soon, though, you'll be able to see him in the lead role of an upcoming HBO film that promises an intense portrayal of a truly heartbreaking story.

In what might be his most demanding role to date, Foster is working alongside Barry Levinson — the esteemed director behind classics such as "Good Morning, Vietnam," "Rain Man," and "Sleepers" — in a new historical drama titled "The Survivor." Having already caused a stir after its 2021 premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, the movie is a reunion for the pair, who previously worked together on Levinson's 1999 film "Liberty Heights." 

"The Survivor" tells the remarkable true story of Harry Haft (Foster), a boxer who faced a harrowing journey of survival during the horrors of World War II. So, what is the plot of "The Survivor," who is joining Foster in the cast, and when will we be able to get our eyes on this eagerly anticipated biopic? We've done the research and pieced together everything we know so far about "The Survivor."

When is The Survivor set to be released?

Having done the rounds at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2021, "The Survivor" has already received a fairly positive response from critics who were lucky enough to see it last year. The film has a solid 75% on Rotten Tomatoes, as of the time of publication. Writing for The Wrap, Steve Pond said of the film, "Foster is the centerpiece at every moment. Fiercely committed to a degree that's almost scary, he's not easy to watch, but it's still hard to take your eyes off him." With verdicts like this, it's no wonder that HBO snatched up the movie shortly after its premiere in a deal that was described by Deadline at the time as "the biggest one in a subdued Toronto marketplace."

Then, in February 2022, a release date for the Barry Levinson-directed film was eventually confirmed and marked in the calendars. Deadline reports that "The Survivor" will have its HBO premiere on April 27 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. After premiering on HBO, the film will then also become available on the streaming service HBO Max. 

Who is in The Survivor?

As mentioned, Ben Foster is front and center in bringing the story of Harry Haft to life in Barry Levinson's "The Survivor," which also marks a reunion between the actor and director 23 years in the making. After making his big-screen debut in Levinson's 1999 film "Liberty Heights," Foster now returns to work with the filmmaker and an equally impressive supporting cast. Joining Foster both in and outside of the ring are Danny DeVito, John Leguizamo, Billy Magnussen, Vicky Krieps, and Peter Sarsgaard, among others.

According to a review from Variety, Magnussen, who is clearly getting comfortable playing the villain after his stints in "No Time To Die" and the HBO Max series "Made for Love," will be turning bad again, this time as a Nazi officer named Dietrich Schneider who takes an interest in Haft. DeVito, meanwhile, plays the manager of a rival boxer in the portions of the film that take place after Haft's experiences during World War II, and Krieps takes on the role of Haft's wife, Miriam.

As we can see, "The Survivor" covers a wide swath of Haft's incredible life story. And when looking at the book the film is based on, we can get a better sense of what the plot of the movie has in store. 

What is the plot of The Survivor?

Based on the book "Harry Haft: Survivor of Auschwitz, Challenger of Rocky Marciano" written by Haft's son, Alan Haft, "The Survivor" was adapted by Justine Juel Gilmer, who penned episodes of "The 100," as well as Amazon Prime Video's fantasy series "The Wheel of Time" (per Deadline). The film tells the incredible story of Haft's time as a prisoner in the confines of the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp, where his talent as a fighter was abused by his captors, who pitted him against other prisoners for their entertainment. Incredibly, the boxer's unbreakable spirit and iron will allow him to defend his corner in one of the most nightmarish environments imaginable until his eventual liberation.

The time shown in Auschwitz is displayed in back and white (via The Guardian), which may well spark memories of Spielberg's "Schindler's List" due to the inevitable harrowing imagery on display. Outside of that, the film also spends time with Haft later in his life after he arrives in New York City in 1949, where he embarks on a career as a professional fighter, even going up against iconic boxer Rocky Marciano. However, Haft is still deeply scarred by his experiences of what came before. 

It certainly sounds like a demanding role for Ben Foster, who has shown in films like "Alpha Dog" and "3:10 to Yuma" that he can conjure a ferociousness befitting of the ring. How he'll handle the emotional struggles Haft endured is another question entirely. We'll have to see how he manages when "The Survivor" arrives on HBO on April 27.