• Meta

  • « | Home | »

    Jens Meurer Interview

    By Ron Holloway | July 4, 2008

    Egoli Tossell Film is an independent production and financing company with addresses in Berlin, Halle, Leipzig and Potsdam-Babelsberg. Founded in 2001, following the merger of their respective companies Egoli Films and Tossell Pictures, ETF is headed by producers Jens Meurer and Judy Tossell.

    How much preparation has gone into producing The Last Station, the story of the last days of the great Russian writer Lev Tolstoy? What is the budget?

    The Last Station is no overnight delivery. Michael Hoffman has been working on the screenplay for years. It is based on the bestseller by Jay Parini. Egoli Tossell joined Chris Curling and Bonnie Arnold about three years ago in developing the film until it could go into production last month. With a budget north of €13 million, we’re quite proud to have financed most of this out of Germany, with strong support from Russia.

    Why makes Michael Hoffman’s directorial approach to Tolstoy’s last days particularly interesting. How did you enlist Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren for the principle roles?

    Script. Script. Script. The Last Station is a great, wonderful, warm, tragic family drama around the world’s greatest writer. It offers very strong parts, not just for Sophia and Lev Tolstoi, but also in the characters played by James McAvoy, Anne Marie Duff, Paul Giamatti and Kerry Condon. It’s a great cast. There can’t be many similarly stellar ensembles filming anywhere this year.

    Where and why are you shooting the film in Germany? Since the film is shot in English and will be distributed through Warner Bros, do you have any key coproduction partners?

    The film is shooting mainly in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt – coincidentally the birthplace of Catherine the Great. Our Queen Helen Mirren calls it “Sexy Anhalt” – it’s a great, unspoilt filmmaking region just outside Berlin, which also offers interesting financing opportunities. Our key co-production partner is one of Russia’s most important film directors, Andrei Konchalovsky, through his Moscow based Production Centre.

    How does The Last Station fit into the overall portfolio of Egoli Tossell film productions?

    We’re European filmmakers based in Germany. We’ll produce anywhere a great story is to be found. Like Herzog in the Amazonas. TLS is a wonderful creative constellation: an American filmmaker telling a great European tale in a German film with some Russian finance and the Britain’s greatest actors. This might offend the narrow-minded ‘nationalists’ of cinema. I believe it’s the kind of filmmaking that complements purely national offerings and gives European cinema glamour and self confidence. I see The Last Station as the continuation of a line of Egoli Tossell productions such as Russian Ark, Shooting Dogs, Helen and Black Book.

    Thank you for the interview, and good luck with The Last Station. –Editors

    Topics: Interviews | Comments Off on Jens Meurer Interview

    Comments are closed.