…Then we take Berlin!

February 10th, 2008 by Timo Vuorensola

DraculaThird morning in Berlin Film Festivals. I’m sitting in the hotel room of Villa Amadeus, in third floor. Sun is shining brightly outside, birds are twittering in the trees and life seems nice. Only one thing has changed: yesterday I met Christopher Lee.

The story goes like this: we were in one hotel in a smoking room, enjoying a cigarette and chatting idly, when AJ (Annila, director of Sauna, which is going to be the greatest horror film ever) spotted a tall guy smoking a fat cigar in the corner. He notified us that there’s a guy who looks exactly like Dracula. We were looking over our backs and realized that oh-shit. That’s him. Mr. Christopher Lee himself. I was totally starstruck, but Ukko (Kaarto, of Bronson Club) went on chatting with him, and led us there. I had to run for another meeting, but had a chance to introduce myself to him, and told him Iron Sky’s logline (“In 1945 the Nazis went to the Moon. In 2018 they are coming back”) and gave him a leaflet we had created. He laughed and said he liked the idea.

And then I had to go. But Ukko and AJ stayed there, sat down with him and what do you know, Christopher actually knew Finland pretty well, because during the World War II, he was fighting in Finland as a volunteer. So, naturally, they had a lot to talk about, and later found themselves singing Finlandia in Berlin with mr. Christopher Lee. Isn’t that just as cool as it can get?

Meeting Lee was my high point here, but I’ve had great time in addition to that a lot. We’ve been going around Berlin from an event to an event, spreading the Iron Sky word and meeting with a lot of people. This year for Finns, Berlin has two important films. First, of course, Black Ice (“Musta jää”), the film that’s competing in the Berlin festival competition. They had a wonderful party in embassy on day 1, a party that lasted to about 6 in the morning. Then there’s Lordi. Dark Floors, I mean.

I’ve been following the discussions around Lordi the film, and would like to hear your opinions, dear readers, if you’ve seen the film. I myself don’t believe a word of the reviews, because what I know is that Finnish film reviewers don’t know jack shit about horror films. I believe much better those who actually know the genre, and one of my very favourite film reviewers, whose opinions I’ve learned to trust (also, I met with him in a dinner on wednesday) is Todd from Twitch Film, and he said it was awful lot of fun. Todd writes:

Now, Dark Floors is clearly not a perfect movie. The script shows signs of being written outside of the author’s native language – which it was – in some unsteady dialog and spotty character moments. There are also a couple of obvious plot holes – more logic problems, really – that the film asks you to accept. But perfect or not it is an awful lot of fun. The logic issues are nothing beyond what you see in any number of films, the major ones basically coming down to cooked up obstructions to force the characters to stop on each floor rather than descending directly, and the dialog issues are more than overcome by an immensely likable cast.

I have the feeling that Todd sums it up well, but then again, I haven’t seen the film yet, and I’m planning to go with Energia posse back in Tampere to go and watch it.

Well, I’m signing off now, I need to run to the main festival building to meet a distributor. You people have fun, I try to write more as I have some time. Also, I will upload some pictures as soon as I get them off my phone!

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15 Responses to “…Then we take Berlin!”

  1. OlliS says:

    Lessee – I’m a Finnish film critic, so I suppose that automatically kinda invalidates my opinion, but…

    …I thought Dark Floors was a pretty solid straight-to-dvd horror flick. Brand-wise my biggest problem was seeing the Lordi monsters themselves, not because they weren’t scary, but because it felt pretty much like that moment of the gig when the band introduces themselves: first there’s the keyboardist, then the drummer, then the bassist, then the guitarists, and finally the lead singer himself.

    I mean these are the guys that shoot confetti after the modulation in the final verse of their award-winning song, if you catch my drift. That’s some serious conginitive dissonance right there.

    Now, off the top of my hat I can’t really think of a way that would’ve integrated the Lordi monsters into the film without feeling like betraying the expectations. It’s the Lordi movie, so of course the Lordi monsters have to appear.

  2. Christopher Lee is possibly the coolest undead lord of darkness ever.

  3. Mike Pohjola says:

    Christopher Lee! Shitting fuck, I’m totally coming to Berlin next year!

  4. Max Fun says:

    Cristopher Lee would do fine as the nazi commander in Iron Sky. Being 85 years old now he would be perfect for “the last man standing” of the original nazis that left the Earth, if he got interested… It might really be worth asking. Even more so, as he volunteered for the Winter War on the Finnish side in 1939. (He didn’t get to the front, though.) And he also does speak fluent German.

    Well, he may be costly, of course. But still. And wasn’t it supposed to be a film of no more shoe string budget…

  5. Yeah, well, string-shoe budget is a very relative term, indeed :) To us 2-3m will sound high, but to the market where C. Lee has been used to work in, it’s closer to string shoe than the norman 100m they are doing usually.

  6. Max Fun says:

    Then a major question is, which is your market? Is it mainly just fans in Finland and a few neighbouring countries, or can you reach higher? Movie makers in Finland always tend to target their movies only to a narrow market, so they never can even dream of major income. Therefore there’s no point in major investment either. But will you be the same as all the others – or something more?

  7. Crusader says:

    How about just a small cameo-role? He might actually do that if he really likes the idea :)

  8. Max Fun says:

    Exactly. That was also my idea initially. Getting any top actor for a lead role would likely exceed Energia’s budget in any case. But Lee might well be interested in a small visible side role for support.

    Say, he could be the “last man standing” of those nazis who first left Earth, the ideological leader influencing in the background and being the “true evil” wearing an Iron Cross Hitler himself gave. Such is just what Lee is the most famous of. The leading nazi commander could be someone else less expensive. Lee might even want to reappear in exactly the same way as in Dracula movies, shown from behind and dressed in a black cloak. Or any way he’d feel comfortable with.

    Who knows? You wouldn’t lose anything asking, but you might win big.

  9. You both are absolutely right.

    Darn it, if I don’t even at least *ask* for Christopher Lee for a certain role in Iron Sky, I’ll be regretting it for the rest of my life. Don’t hold your breath, but then again, Iron Sky is such a lunatic production that it just as well might happen :)

    I also have a certain another musician/actor I’m going to approach and see if I can get him interested. Who knows!

    Timo.

  10. Max Fun says:

    Great! Good luck trying! :)

    No one can really expect you’d succeed to get Lee or anyone else of such fame into Iron Sky. However, Lee is quite possibly the best fit you could get, and now you already know him and he’s told it sounds interesting. But being able to mention ANY major celebrity appearing on the film even shortly will raise the potential for marketing the film substantially, so don’t give up easily on trying others either.

    Pretty much all you can offer with a budget of just a few millions to a top celebrity is an appearance in his honor, so you need to make him feel it as such.
    Do tailor a suitable small role in the script to suit whomever you’d get, as it’s his call. The changes don’t need to be large, just enough to make the role sit in well.

    I would make the demo ready first and send it together with a copy of SW:ItP when asking. Then he’d see you are serious and skilled, not just another amateur team asking. (I bet Lee gets tons of such requests like any actor.) If he gets interested, he might not just offer his face but invest his own money into the film. Such happens pretty often. (That’s a totally other thing not to be pushed, though.)

  11. ravel says:

    I think Dark Floors was a fun movie. You could really see the makers’ enthusiasm and well, the visuals were great. Maybe the end result is a bit bland because we know the monsters too well and the potential claustrophobia was not handled well.

    I have seen many horror movies and it was not one of the worst. Knowing that this was the first major motion picture for many of the crew behind this movie, thumb up for Pete Riski, Mr. Lordi and others involved.

    Oh, and I think Dark Floors was much better than Jade Warrior.

  12. Ukkonen says:

    I’m not easily starstruck, but mr.Lee made a really good impression on me. Amazingly intelligent and well mannered human being. Hopefully he’ll remember the finnish word I taught him, “ystävä”.

    The funniest thing was that when AJ and me were singing Finlandia with mr.Lee we just couldn’t remember how our national anthem goes. Oh noes…

  13. Max Fun says:

    The Finnish Foreign Ministry might well be interested in sponsoring an honorary appearance of Lee’s on behalf of all those Brittish volunteers in Winter War, as Lee coincidentally happens to be one of those few who actually ever came here. Probably they’d not not put in that much money, but they could offer some official gesture of gratitude on behalf of Finland to them all. It’d be really worth asking, because if they’d get interested in such, it might indeed be worth much more than money to Lee. And such could also be used for gaining major publicity during the release.

    What else could a mega star in his 80′s wish more than an official recognition of having been a hero already way back in his 20′s? An opportunity to represent many others in that respect and get the recognition in a way showing he’s personally been a hero all the time and still is? Note that Lee hasn’t ever got any major official awards, so it might *really* mean a lot to him.

  14. Toweri says:

    … And whatever came of this?
    Please report.

  15. We’ll let you know!