The third and last part of our trip to Germany took us back to Berlin, which for some of us meant sitting in an endless stream of meetings about the budget, the details of props and costumes, the CGI and so forth – both in Berlin and in Potsdam. There was also a preliminary costume fitting for the main characters, as well as casting some roles that hadn’t been filled yet.
On weekend we had one of our very rare free days, which for some of us meant attending to just one meeting. Timo, Samuli and I even managed to find time for a short bar crawl around the Prenzlauerberg area. We also had a wonderful movie moment when we stepped into this small lo-fi bar around three in the morning. Everybody in the bar turned around to stare at us and the music just happened to pause at the same time. Nobody drew out a Colt, though.
On Monday Julia Dietze, Götz Otto and Tilo Prückner came in for some costume work. We had our costume designer Jake Collier and his assistant Heli Karhunen come to Berlin with some early samples of costumes which the actors could try on. There wasn’t still a whole lot to see on that front and the costume fitting was more about taking measurements and planning the future. Julia and Götz stayed to hang around in the office to chat with the crew and go over some details with Timo, both of them being very fun and charismatic people.
There is one interesting thing about the costumes and filming Iron Sky in general in Germany, something Jake luckily thought about in the last minute before packing up the costumes and jumping into the airplane: importing any kind of Nazi insignia or regalia in to Germany is illegal, as well as possessing them. If the German customs had caught him and Heli with Nazi uniforms, they may have been faced with legal action, as in fined, jailed or possibly deported. This meant that all the Nazi symbols had to be removed from the costumes before the trip. Also, while eventually shooting the movie, we have to apply for a special permit to use those symbols and be careful that none of them are visible to the general public during the shooting.
Timo spent most of Monday with our casting agent Uwe Bünker, choosing actors for some of the roles that still hadn’t been filled, and I joined him on Tuesday with my cameras. Casting is a very interesting process and Iron Sky has attracted the attention of surprising amount of actors that are well known in Germany and in some cases abroad too.
What happened in practice was that Uwe had chosen a bunch of actors that fit the requirements of the roles in question. The actors had been given a short part of the script, Timo briefed them about their characters and the scene, and they acted it in front of a camera helped by our placeholder actor Marian Meder, who did all the other roles. There were several variations of the scene, like doing it so that the character was really strict, really friendly, totally stoned etc. All of these were recorded for Timo and the rest of the team to go through and make the final choice.
We were casting for several roles, and without going too far into specifics one of them was a slightly comical Nazi trooper, one was a rather tragic older woman role, the third one was an old Nazi general and the fourth one was actually a combination of six roles, a room full of arguing heads of state. I’ve of course read the script and many of its different iterations, but this was the first time I saw the characters come to life.
Unfortunately because of various reasons we couldn’t really film or photograph the auditions for you, the least not being that we don’t want to spoil some of the essential moments and laughs of the movie. In any case, the hardest thing during the casting was not to laugh out aloud during the recording, since some of the performances were truly hilarious. For example one of the actors managed to completely demolish a chair by sitting on it while just acting like he was fat.
The casting more or less concludes our trip to Germany. We got a whole lot done and as I said earlier, people switched into a completely new gear. Things are going forward, decisions get nailed down and the actual start of the shootings doesn’t feel like a faraway prospect, but a concrete thing that’s getting closer and closer.
Now the three of us are going to hit the Berlin nightlife with Heli, Jake and the others and wind down a bit, before heading for home. Stay tuned for more nifty stuff in the blog, including video diaries from these trips!