German TV vet Hagen Bogdanski’s breakout pic was the 2006 Stasi drama “The Lives of Others,” which in addition to surprising audiences, surprised Bogdanski. “Everyone saw this movie,” he says, exaggerating only slightly. “It was constantly amazing for me. I had thought of it as a film for intellectuals, or maybe students. But it wasn’t true.”
After winning awards in Germany, France and the U.K., “Lives,” helmed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, ended up taking the Oscar for foreign-language film, and Bogdanski went on to finish two very different projects: Paramount’s “Case 39,” starring Renee Zellweger and Ian McShane, and “The Young Victoria,” about the early years of the long-ruling English queen. Neither will be confused with “The Lives of Others.” Neither will be confused with each other.
“‘Case 39’ is a modern thriller, a big studio film, so different from an independent project like ‘Lives of Others,’ ” says Bogdanski of the Christian Alvart film. ” ‘Young Victoria’ is a historic period drama which we completely lit with candlelight, underexposed, using low-level, high-speed film.” Which sounds a bit like Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon.” “That was our goal,” Bogdanski says.
“Victoria” is being helmed by Quebecois director Jean-Marc Vallee (“C.R.A.Z.Y.”) and was written by Julian Fellowes.
What Bogdanski prefers is shooting in “real Scope,” or “poor man’s Scope” — Super 35. He’s done no HD shooting at this point, he says, but adds that his approach to filmmaking is “very open.”
“Preparation is the thing,” instructs Bogdanski. “That, and having a good relationship with everyone.”
The movie that changed my life: “The Lives of Others”
Mentor or inspiration: Tony Richardson, Roger Deakins, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan
Tool I can’t do without: “My set of fixed-focus lenses.”
Rep: Craig Bernstein, ICM