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Tom Tykwer at work on THE MASTER AND THE MARGARITA!!!

Hey folks, Harry here with The Ugly Duckling from Denmark with very exciting news about the genius known as Tom Tykwer and his next film which has caused me to go to Amazon and order THE MASTER AND THE MARGARITA cuz it just sounds so damn good, and living as long as I have without reading it, must be rectified. Johnny Depp as the Devil... heh, can't wait, when you see his character in ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO - he isn't far off. Here ya go...

God Morgen From Denmark, Harry!

I am a film student in Copenhagen and recently won a prize for my short film 'Et Andet Navne' (Another Name). The prize was a ticket to the highly prestigious Rodovre Film Festival, which attracts mostly Scandinavian and German films (Rodovre is a large suburb in Denmark which is popular for music concerts). The ticket only entitled me to one day at the festival, so I made the most of it. There are three main backers (all directors) for the festival: our own Lars Von Trier ('The Idiots') and Thomas Vinterberg ('Festen'), along with Germany's Tom Tykwer ('Lola Rennt'). I got to see 'Dogville', which was three hours of strangely appealing eccentricity that I would like to review but am sure I would just get bogged down with the plot. Another movie which I'm sure won't see the light of day outside Scandinavia and Germany is 'Wilbur Wants To Die', a fantastic film that you must all hunt down; an extremely refreshing, original movie.  

At the end of the day, the three directors held a conference. I must have missed Vinterberg's part because Von Trier was now speaking enthusiastically of how much he enjoyed making  'Dogville' in Sweden with such a great cast, etc- very funny anecdotes about the underrated Udo Kier calling Nicole Kidman the "Ginger Giant." It is a pity that Von Trier overshadows Vinterberg abroad because, in my opinion, the latter is a much more character-driven director -but perhaps it is better to be the underdog.  

Anyway, to cut the crap and get to the bottom line, as you may have it, Tom Tykwer said he is in the pre-production stages of making and adaptation of one of my favourite novels: Mikhail Bulgakov's 'The Master and Margarita', a Russian classic about the arrival of the Devil in Moscow, flanked by two demons, a naked girl and a huge black cat. When he leaves the asylums are full and law and order in disarray. Only the Master, a man devoted to the truth, and Margarita, the woman he loves, remain unaffected. It was written at the height of Stalin's power, if I remember correctly (about 1938) but was only published in Russia in 1966. Tykwer claimed there was a movie adaptation made in Russia of the novel, but is only known these days to 'Russian movie critics and political satirists', because it is well-known for being an allegory for the political situation at the time- Gorky and such.  

According to Tykwer, filming begins in Prague (every filmmaker's filming location these days- must be the cheap beer) with Johnny Depp playing the Devil -something I'm sure he's wanted to do for a long time- and Netherland's Famke Janssen playing Margarita (I love her in everything!). Tykwer couldn't say who would play the Master because a 'very well-known actor' had recently dropped out and they were in serious talks with another 'very famous actor'. Producing the movie, among others he mentioned but I didn't hear, were Stefan Arndt and Adam Schroeder (no, I've never heard of them either). Longtime Ang Lee collaborator, screenwriter James Schamus has apparently written a wonderful script which called for 'updating language and poor translation', and adding new scenes and getting rid of seemingly un-needed characters. I personally think this is a Godsend, something exciting put in the hands of such a wunderkind as Tykwer. And if you have BBC in Amer! ica, you'll no doubt know of The Office, which is huge in Denmark- writer and star Ricky Gervais has an 'interesting little role' according to Tykwer.  

Make of this what you will, but I can't wait. Forget Hulks and Matrix's, rock on M&M!

Thank you for your time,

'The Ugly Duckling'

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