Besides the glaringly obvious World War II thriller Valkyrie, opening Christmas Day in the U.S., there are several other current or upcoming German-Hollywood connections. The more dazzling Tom Cruise blockbuster about the attempted assassination of Hitler by German Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg was directed by Bryan Singer (Apt Pupil, X-Men) and filmed largely in Germany for an estimated $80 million. But the much quieter film, The Reader, which opened recently in U.S. movie theaters, was not only filmed in Germany, it is based on a German novel, Der Vorleser (The Reader), by Bernhard Schlink — a book made famous in the U.S. by Oprah Winfrey. Directed by Stephan Daldry (The Hours), the film features Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes, and a German actor by the name of David Kross, who plays the young character of Michael involved with Hanna (Winslet). It’s a Holocaust film with an interesting twist, looking at morality and guilt in a very personal way.
When I was living in Berlin last year, I kept reading and hearing about Cruise’s problems with German authorities about filming locations (and a film lab disaster in Germany that led to the re-shooting of some key scenes). Later READ MORE »