BERLIN — German TV production powerhouse Teamworx and broadcaster Sat.1 are teaming up for a satirical take on one of the year’s biggest political scandals: the fall of German defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.
A scion of the house of Guttenberg, a noble family with roots dating back to the 12th century, and holding the irrelevant but nevertheless impressive-sounding aristocratic title of baron (Germany abolished noble privileges in 1919), Guttenberg shot to fame in 2009 after Chancellor Angela Merkel tapped the young politico as her economics minister and later defense minister. He quickly became the country’s most popular politician and was widely seen as a shoe-in to become Germany’s next chancellor.
Yet Guttenberg’s dazzling political flight crashed and burned after it came to light that he plagiarized large portions of his doctoral dissertation in what became known as the Cut and Paste Affair.
Produced by Teamworx topper Nico Hofmann, the TV pic, “Der Grosse Bruder” (The Big Brother), will offer a satirical take on the story of Guttenberg and his wife, Stephanie (a descendant of Otto von Bismarck).
Hofmann says he wants to cast local stars Jan Josef Liefers (“Tatort”) as Guttenberg, Anja Kling as Stephanie and Henning Baum (“The Last Cop”) as the ghostwriter who helps the young politico with his doctoral thesis.
While Hofmann hasn’t consulted Guttenberg on the script, he says he’s certain the former minister will like the film.
Hofmann compares the planned pic to Helmut Dietl’s 1992 satire “Schtonk!,” which was based on the real-life story of the wily forger behind the Hitler Diaries hoax.
Such a film is only doable as “a humorous, satirical exaggeration” with a likable ensemble of characters, says Hofmann, adding that Guttenberg is an appealing and sympathetic person.
For his part, Guttenberg has since moved across the Pond, bought a house in Connecticut and joined the Center for Strategic & Intl. Studies as a “distinguished statesman.”
“Der grosse bruder” starts shooting in March.
Guttenberg is not the only colorful character getting the TV movie treatment from Teamworx. The company is producing a telepic on German field marshal Erwin Rommel for pubcaster ARD.
Shooting in France and set against the backdrop of the anticipated Allied invasion of France, “Rommel” explores the military leader’s growing conflict between loyalty and opposition to Hitler. Ulrich Tukur (“John Rabe”) stars.