Two rival projects set sail
BERLIN — Jack London is enjoying a comeback in Germany, where two rival TV productions of his high seas adventure yarn “The Sea Wolf” are in the works.
Thomas Kretschmann is set to star in Hofmann & Voges Entertainment’s “Der Seewolf” for commercial web ProSieben, while Tele Muenchen Group is partnering with pubcaster ZDF and U.K. TV producer Power on a separate two-part TV adaptation of London’s 1904 novel.
Set in 1900, “The Sea Wolf” follows the adventure of Wolf Larsen, a cruel, hard-as-nails but deeply philosophical captain who rescues the land-lubbin’ gentleman Humphrey van Weyden, presses him into service on his schooner, and drags him off on a seal hunting expedition.
Budgeted at Euros 12 million ($17.5 million), TMG’s project is based on a script by Nigel Williams. The scribe penned 2005 TV miniseries “Elizabeth I,” which starred Helen Mirren and won several Emmys and three Golden Globes.
TMG’s “Sea Wolf” is co-produced by group subsidiary Clasart Television and ZDF along with Rikolt von Gagern of Gate Film and Justin Bodle, chairman and CEO of Power, which will also handle international sales. Pic is set to start shooting in May with an international cast.
For TMG, the production is a return to its roots. Company produced a hit four-part mini based on “The Sea Wolf” in 1970 for ZDF.
ProSieben’s version, also a two-parter, will be helmed by Stephan Wagner from a screenplay by Holger Karsten Schmidt. Pic has already received some $640,000 in funding from Bavarian state subsidy org FFF Bayern.
Other versions of the oft filmed book include the 1941 classic with Edward G. Robinson, Ida Lupino, John Garfield and Alexander Knox, as well as a 1993 TV movie starring Charles Bronson and Christopher Reeve.