Filled with epic sweep and spectacular battle sequences, the 2008 WWI drama The Red Baron is finally getting some screen time in Canada.
The film stars Matthias Schweighoffer as the mythical titular fighter pilot, a German national hero who was as feared in the air as he was misunderstood on the ground.
Hiding amidst the supporting cast is actor Til Schweiger. A superstar in his native Germany, Schweiger is perhaps best known as the merciless Hugo Stiglitz in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.
In The Red Baron he plays Werner Voss, fellow pilot and friend to the Baron, a role that showcases his cruel, Teutonic good looks and steady screen presence.
And though the film uses the legend of the Baron to make a strong antiwar statement, Schweiger spoke to Metro about the surprising controversy it courted in its native country.
“In Germany, there is a heavy pressure to be as factual as possible,” says the actor.
“But film is an impression. There would be no possible way to be 100 per cent accurate about the baron’s life — it would be foolish to try. Ours is a version of the story, that is all.”
The Red Baron is indeed a German film and — outside of a few British actors including Joseph Fiennes — features a completely German cast.
And yet the producers chose to shoot the entire endeavor in English, a once popular move (think Doctor Zhivago) that is rarely done anymore.
“It made the most sense to film it in English,” Schweiger says.
“It’s a universal story of heroism and shouldn’t just be relegated to a German market.
“This way, the film has broader appeal, can get more screen time and be seen by people who wouldn’t otherwise bother with a subtitled film.”