The Journal Gazette
Friday, February 21, 2020 1:00 am

Pacino takes on role of Nazi hunter on Amazon

George Dickie | Zap2it

Nazis have infiltrated 1970s New York City with a plot to create a Fourth Reich and Meyer Offerman is determined to stop them.

As played by Al Pacino (“The Irishman,” “The Godfather”) in the Amazon drama series “Hunters,” premiering today, he's a Holocaust survivor with an agenda to hunt down the hundreds, if not thousands, of Nazi war criminals living in the United States.

He comes to the fore when youthful New Yorker Jonah Heidelbaum (Logan Lerman, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “Fury”) witnesses his grandmother being killed by a mysterious intruder, a crime with similarities to others being perpetrated against Jews in other parts of the country as well.

Enter Offerman to take Jonah under his wing and train him to be one of his hunters, a covert operation whose mission is to hunt down Nazis living on this side of the Atlantic, helped by others inside and outside law enforcement, including FBI agent Millie Malone (Jerrika Hinton, “Grey's Anatomy”).

For Pacino, fresh off an Oscar nomination for “The Irishman” in which he worked with longtime collaborators Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Martin Scorsese, the role offered the chance to work with new blood, an opportunity he embraced.

“I (enjoyed) the element of surprise with the new people,” he says. “They just explode with their energy and their commitment and their openness.”

“These people are so good in this,” he continues. “... It was also, in a lot of ways, easier for me, because ... it's not all my story at all. It's mainly, I would say, Logan's story. ... And it was a wonderful experience. And I can't say that about all the things I've done.”

Lerman, naturally, was thrilled to collaborate with a legend and the man he calls his favorite actor.

“Going to meet him for the first time,” he says, “I realized that he's an extremely humble, generous, kind, loving individual who works really hard, and we have similar work ethic, and we really loved getting together and going through the material and fully realizing this world and our characters as a team. So I really enjoyed that.”

“There's a certain electricity in the room that's different than any group of actors I'd been with when I'm with (him) ...,” he continues. “(He) makes it really easy for everybody.”

Though essentially fiction, the storyline does contain some elements of fact, chief among them that there were Nazis living in the U.S. after World War II and were planning to rise to power again.

But as for the hunters themselves, series creator David Weil says, “That is a part of the creation, the invention. To our knowledge not necessarily. They hunted these people in the courts and through legal action. This is a piece of about wish fulfillment and wondering what if there was this band of secret Nazi hunters who were eliminating these people.”

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