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TELEVISION Germany

It’s a wrap for Stephan Wagner’s Merkel

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- The German director has been working on a TV film starring actress Imogen Kogge in the role of the Chancellor

It’s a wrap for Stephan Wagner’s Merkel
Imogen Kogge (right) as Angela Merkel on the set of Merkel (© ARD/RBB/Carte Blanche International/Volker Roloff)

Stephan Wagner’s Merkel has just wrapped principal photography. The German filmmaker has been particularly active in the television industry since the mid-1990s, and has been involved in the direction, production and writing of many successful shows, such as Tatort (2011-2019), Am Ruder (2017) and Polizeiruf 110 (2008-2009).

His new project intended for the small screen is a drama set during the summer of 2015 and focused on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to open the German borders to nearly one million Syrian refugees. The move was welcomed by many but has been strongly criticised by extreme-right parties, inevitably undermining her leadership and affecting the political future of the European Union. The script, penned in its entirety by Florian Oeller, is based on The Driven Ones, a best-selling book written by journalist Robin Alexander and published in 2017.

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On this occasion, the most powerful woman in the world is played by Imogen Kogge (Alone in Berlin [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, Phoenix [+see also:
film review
trailer
making of
interview: Christian Petzold
film profile
]
). Kogge is best known for her stage work, but has appeared in a number of film and TV productions over the last 35 years. The stellar international cast includes actors portraying other prominent political figures – namely, Radu Bânzaru (Soul’s Redemption: a Pocket Guide, The Crucifixion) as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Josef Bierbichler (Two Men in Suits [+see also:
trailer
interview: Josef Bierbichler
film profile
]
, Don’t Look at Me That Way [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Uisenma Borchu
film profile
]
) as leader of the centre-right Christian Social Union party Horst Seehofer, Timo Dierkes (Windstorm 4: Ari’s Arrival, Labyrinth of Lies [+see also:
film review
trailer
making of
interview: Giulio Ricciarelli
interview: Giulio Ricciarelli
film profile
]
) as Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, Walter Sittler (Robert Anders in the popular TV series The Inspector and the Sea) as President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and young Orlando Süss as Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

Merkel is a Carte Blanche production, in co-operation with national public broadcasters RBB and NDR. This is the first project for Carte Blanche, as the outfit was recently founded by Wagner and German producer Alexander van Dülmen (Madame Bovary [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, Measuring the World [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
). The Potsdam-based firm is also developing a TV series revolving around the life of Empress of Russia Catherine the Great, an adaptation of the novel Winternähe from writer Mirna Funk and the Stasi drama We'll Be Dead by Christmas, starring Frederick Lau, Milan Peschel and Devid Striesow, and co-produced by 20th Century Fox.

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