Punctual contract killers in The Surprise
by Birgit Heidsiek
- Academy Award-winning director Mike van Diem has lensed his black comedy in Germany, Ireland and Belgium
After two months of shooting in Ireland, Germany and Belgium, Academy Award-winning Dutch writer/director Mike van Diem (Karakter) is due to wrap his romantic thriller The Surprise [+see also:
film profile]. The €4.6 million movie is produced as an international co-production between Els Vandevorst and Hans de Weers from The Surprise in the Netherlands, Michael Eckelt from Riva Film in Germany, Antonino Lombardo from Belgian outfit Prime Time and Morgan Bushe from Ireland’s Fastnet Films. The European production received €500,000 from Eurimages as well as production support in Germany that included €200,000 from Nordmedia and €100,000 from the Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein.
With The Surprise, van Diem takes his first steps into the black-comedy genre. An eccentric billionaire signs a contract with a secret organisation that agrees to kill him for money. Since he books the “surprise” package, he has no idea which method will be used to dispatch him. While he is choosing a coffin at the funeral arm of the organisation, he meets a young woman who has the same kind of contract. The two doomed people talk about their motivation for this decision and fall in love with each other while they await their fate. But there is no turning back now: the contract killers won’t allow any delay.
The high-octane chase scenes for this adventure thriller were shot in Hamburg, where van Diem also lensed his award-winning Karakter in 1997. For his director of photography, he hired Rogier Stoffers, who also shot the historical epic Mongol [+see also:
film profile], by Sergei Bodrov. Heading up the cast of the new movie are Jeroen van Koningsbrugge, Georgina Verbaan and Jan Decleir.