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Malte Grunert • Producer

A Most Wanted Man in Hamburg

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- German producer Malte Grunert speaks about Anton Corbijn’s new film A Most Wanted Man, currently being shot in Hamburg

Malte Grunert • Producer

The Dutch director Anton Corbijn has started with the principal photography of his thriller A Most Wanted Man in Hamburg (news). "Everything that takes place in Hamburg in the novel and the film is going to be shot here," said German Malte Grunert, whose production company Amusement Park has been involved in this film project since 2009. "The novel is very specific regarding the settings because the author knows Hamburg very well. John Le Carré lived in Hamburg because he worked here for the consulate."

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In the best-selling book, a young Chechenian refugee becomes the target of international intelligence services after September 11, who assume that he is an Islamic terrorist. A banker, a young laywer as well as the head of the German secret agency try to help him. "It is a recurring motive by Le Carré that people in a huge framework of secret agencies and governments are trying to do the right thing on a small level and act as humans. Unfortunately, they fail most of the time,“ the producer underlined.

For the adaption of this subject matter Grunert and his co-producers hired the Australian script writer Andrew Bovell who has written the scripts for thrillers such as Lantana and Edge of Darkness with Mel Gibson. "He was able to bring Le Carré‘s complex netting of characters and stories in a quick and elegant way in a dramatic composition for the screen." The result is a mixture of reserved emotions and huge suspense. Le Carré himself was involved in the various script versions and is also the executive producer of A Most Wanted Man.

The main partners in this German British co-production are the two sons of the writer, the producer Simon Cornwell and Stephen Cornwell, the script writer of Unknown Identity who run the production company Ink Factory. The third partner is British producer Gail Egan with Potboiler Productions, who already produced the screen adaption of Le Carré‘s The Constant Gardener [+see also:
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The two-digit million budget of this international production has mostly been financed with presales. "The world sales Film Nation closed deals in more than 20 territories.“ The German distributor Senator Filmis also involved as a co-producer. Further investors are the US equity partner Demarest Films and the British broadcaster Film 4, which was already on board during the development of this project. The German film fund DFFF put up €2 million, the Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein (FFHSH) contributed €900,000 and the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg an additional €200 000.

"The financing is the reason why we are shooting the movie entirely in Germany and also do the post production here,“ explained Grunert. To get any tax incentives in Great Britain it would have been necessary to spend a quarter of the budget in England which would have required more expenses than just the post production service. "We would have been forced to shoot some interiors in Great Britain that need to match with the exteriors in Hamburg. We decided to choose the more production-friendly way to shoot the whole picture in Germany.“

The international crew of A Most Wanted Man will shoot the picture at various locations all over the city of Hamburg for around eight weeks. "Anton Corbijn and the DOP Benoit Delhomme have never worked in Hamburg before,“ said the producer. "They are looking at the city. with a fresh view."

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