Transatlantic: Netflix release date, trailer, and cast with Gillian Jacobs - is it based on a true story?

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Netflix's new historical drama Transatlantic charts the formation of the Emergency Rescue Committee in Marseilles during World War Two

Transatlantic, a new historical drama about the Emergency Rescue Committee, is coming to Netflix this April. The series, which comes from Deutschland 83 creator Anna Winger and was loosely inspired by the book The Flight Portfolio, is set during WWII in Nazi-occupied France.

Gillian Jacobs, best known for starring in Community and Love, plays Mary Jayne Gold, while Gotham’s Cory Michael Smith plays Varian Fry – both real people from history. Transatlantic follows them, and a number of other blacklisted artists and intellectuals, as they make their escapes from Vichy France.

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Here’s everything you need to know about Transatlantic ahead of its Netflix release this month.

What is it about?

Netflix’s official logline for Transatlantic explains that the series follows “two Americans and their allies as they form a scrappy rescue operation in 1940 Marseilles to help artists, writers and other refugees fleeing Europe during WWII.”

Is it based on a true story?

Yes, it is! Transatlantic is loosely adapted from Julie Orringer’s novel The Flight Portfolio, a piece of historical fiction that recounts the actions of the real-life Emergency Rescue Committee. A number of the characters seen in Transatlantic – like Varian Fry, for example – were real people.

Who stars in Transatlantic?

Deleila Piasko as Lisa Fittko, Ralph Amoussou as Paul Kandjo, Lucas Englander as Albert Hirschmann, Gillian Jacobs as Mary-Jayne Gold, Cory Michael Smith as Varian Fry, and Amit Rahav as Thomas Lovegrove in Transatlantic (Credit: Netflix)Deleila Piasko as Lisa Fittko, Ralph Amoussou as Paul Kandjo, Lucas Englander as Albert Hirschmann, Gillian Jacobs as Mary-Jayne Gold, Cory Michael Smith as Varian Fry, and Amit Rahav as Thomas Lovegrove in Transatlantic (Credit: Netflix)
Deleila Piasko as Lisa Fittko, Ralph Amoussou as Paul Kandjo, Lucas Englander as Albert Hirschmann, Gillian Jacobs as Mary-Jayne Gold, Cory Michael Smith as Varian Fry, and Amit Rahav as Thomas Lovegrove in Transatlantic (Credit: Netflix) | Netflix

Gillian Jacobs plays Mary Jayne Gold, a Chicago heiress funding the Emergency Rescue Committee. Jacobs is best known for playing Britta in Community, but you might also recognise her from Netflix’s Love, HBO’s Girls, and the Fear Street film trilogy. 

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Corey Michel Smith plays Varian Fry, a journalist closely involved in the Emergency Rescue Committee. Smith is best known for playing a version of the Riddler on the young Batman prequel series Gotham, but you might also know him from First Man (which, interestingly, also starred his Transatlantic co-star Corey Stoll). 

Corey Stoll plays Patterson, an American Consul in Marseille opposed to the refugees entering America. Stoll is perhaps best known on television as one of the leads in Billions, but you might also recognise him from House of Cards, The Many Saints of Newark, and Ant-Man. 

They’re joined by Grégory Montel as Philippe Frot, Ralph Amoussou as Paul Kandjo, Luke Thompson (Bridgerton) as Hiram Bingham, Deleila Piasko as Lisa Fittko, and Amit Rahhav as Thomas Lovegrove.

Who writes and directs?

Transatlantic was created by Anna Winger, a writer/producer best-known for her work on the Deutschland 83 trilogy. Transatlantic marks Winger’s second series for Netflix, after Unorthodox in early 2020, and the first of her new overall deal with the streaming service. 

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Is there a trailer?

Yes, there is! You can watch it right here.

When and how can I watch it?

Transatlantic will arrive on Netflix as a boxset on Friday 7 April, with every episode available to stream. You can sign up for Netflix right here.

How many episodes are there?

Transatlantic is a seven-part drama, with each episode running to around an hour in length.

Where is it filmed?

Transatlantic was filmed on location in Marseilles in France.

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Why should I watch it? 

It’s one to check out if you’re interested in this period of history, or if you’re a fan of contemporary screwball comedies – creator Anna Winger said that she was particularly influenced by films like Casablanca when it came to writing Transatlantic, hoping to capture the same sense of humour that people displayed at the time. 

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