|Carice van Houten|
Berlin, Germany—I first talked about this last February when there was a tease article in Variety Magazine.
The Jessie Owens story is coming to the big screen. The film titled, Race is starring Stephan James as Owens and he is joined Jeremy Irons and William Hurt in this film. Stephen Hopkins is directing the film. Shooting began this week in Berlin.
The multi-talented Dutch actress, Carice van Houten who happens to be my personal favorite has signed on to play the legendary German film director Leni Riefenstahl.
Van Houten was cast in the once in a lifetime role of the accidental Dutch resistance hero, Rachel Stein / Ellis de Vries in Paul Verhoeven’s film, Black Book (2006). That’s still is my favorite film of all time!
Today, van Houten graces the Game of Game of Thrones cast as the Red Priestess, Melisandre.
Riefenstahl was a gorgeous dancer and actress and genuine contemporary of the late great Marlene Dietrich. The events of 1933 in Germany would change her life.
Riefenstahl was an incredibly talented woman who took advantage of an opportunity within Adolf Hitler’s emerging Third Reich to make films with virtually unlimited budgets.
Riefenstahl was not anti-Semitic or any kind of a racist. She was an opportunist that simply rose to the occasion when she got her chance.
One of her trademark masterpiece films, Triumph des Willens or in English Triumph of The Will is banned today in Germany. It’s filled with amazing camera shots both static and aerial that had never been done before in cinema.
That film was an epic propaganda piece designed to make Germany love their new leader who promised them hope and change and during a very bleak period in German History.
Riefenstahl matched her stunning images with music and the film became an undeniable hit. Nazi propaganda aside Riefenstahl did exactly what film directors are supposed to do.
Riefenstahl’s greatest epic was her documentation of the 1936 Olympics. Hitler decreed that Blacks and Jews could not take part in this event but relented when Germany would not be allowed to host the event
We all know what happened with that legendary African-American track star Jessie Owens, to Hitler’s chagrin defeated all of the world’s greatest runners.
Riefenstahl’s spectacular film of Owens' victory has been seen millions of times and it’s still being shown today nearly 80 years later! Riefenstahl created the template that sports photographers everywhere still follow today.
Riefenstahl invented camera movements using aircraft, sliders, dollies and jibs that are being used by filmmakers everywhere today. Imagine what she would have done with the multi-rotor camera drones in use today.
Riefenstahl was sought after by Walt Disney but her alliance with Hitler spoiled that. She was nearly tried as a war criminal and found herself punished and precluded from doing what she preferred in Hollywood.
Riefenstahl became a documentary film maker that made groundbreaking films of African tribes and oceanographic scientific films until her death at age 100 in 2003.
Riefenstahl was also known for having a boyfriend some 40 years her junior!
Okay i admit that I’m in love with van Houten’s amazing talents. I know this woman is exactly what the Oscar’s Best Actress Award is all about. I love her singing too! I often listen to van Houten’s album, See You On The Ice as I drive around L.A.
I only hope that van Houten is able to book more of the blockbuster films she deserves. If I was somehow van Houten’s agent, I’d make that happen!