’80 Days’ starts trip in Berlin

Pic getting $1.7 mil from German subsidies

BERLIN — Walden Media’s “Around the World in 80 Days,” starring Jackie Chan and British comedian Steve Coogan, began shooting in the German capital Tuesday.

Walden Media owner Philip Anschutz has many links to the city, according to producer Bill Badalato (“About Schmidt”), speaking near the city’s historical Gendarmenmarkt square, which is doubling for the Royal Academy of Science and other London locales. Anschutz owns the Berlin Eisbaeren hockey team and is building a $170 million 16,000-seat sports arena for the team. It also has a number of other major real estate projects in the city.

Studio Babelsberg is co-financing the $100 million film, which is getting $1.7 million from German state and federal film subsidies.

While U.S. productions in Europe face rising costs due to the U.S. dollar’s slide against the euro, “Around the World in 80 Days” co-producer Henning Molfenter said producers loaded up on euros in early April — at a much better exchange rate — to cover local production costs.

The Frank Coraci-helmed pic has yet to find U.S. distribution. “We’re still strategizing,” said producer Hal Lieberman.

“Around the World in 80 Days” also stars Jim Broadbent, Cecile de France, Kathy Bates and Johnny Knoxville.

Producers are lining up cameo roles, including John Cleese and German filmmaker Wim Wenders, who will play an eccentric artist. Lieberman added that a cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger was still being negotiated.

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