Warner Bros. UK has released the first trailer from Operation Mincemeat, a World War II thriller about a real, but fantastical, operation by the British against the Nazis in Italy. It is an adaption of the book about the mission, written by historical writer Ben Macintyre (The Spy And The Traitor).

With an upcoming invasion of Sicily planned, two British officers invent a plan to plant false documents on the body of a dead man in enemy waters in an effort to fool the Nazis as to where the landing would take place. They face considerable resistance from their own commanding hierarchy.

Part of the wider Operation Barclay, Operation Mincemeat was based on the 1939 Trout memo, written by Rear Admiral John Godfrey, the Director of the Naval Intelligence Division, and his personal assistant, Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond. The memo read:

“The following suggestion is used in a book by Basil Thomson: a corpse dressed as an airman, with despatches in his pockets, could be dropped on the coast, supposedly from a parachute that has failed. I understand there is no difficulty in obtaining corpses at the Naval Hospital, but, of course, it would have to be a fresh one.”

With the approval of the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and the military commander in the Mediterranean, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the plan began. The operation has been depicted in writing before in Operation Heartbreak, a 1950 novel by the former cabinet minister Duff Cooper, before one of the intelligence officers who planned and carried out Mincemeat, Ewen Montagu, wrote a history in 1953. Montagu’s work formed the basis for the 1956 British film The Man Who Never Was.

Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, Jason Isaacs, Penelope Wilton, Simon Russell Beale, and Johnny Flynn star.

Operation Mincemeat is directed by John Madden (Shakespeare In Love, Miss Sloane) from a screenplay by Michelle Ashford. The movie will have a UK cinema release and be available in the US via Netflix from January 7th.

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