Exclusive Interview: Udo Kier Talks Iron Sky, His Horror Roots, and Lots More!
Heather Buckley: You pick very interesting roles, a lot of them are in the genre. This piece is going to appear in Dread Central. Are you a fan of exploitation and horror films? You play great characters, you mentioned Dracula...
Udo Kier: The horror film came to me, not me to the horror film. I was just sitting in the aeroplane and Paul Morrissey was sitting next to me, and he wanted my number so I gave him my number. A couple of weeks later, I got a call, and he said, ‘I’m making a little film in Rome, Frankenstein, and I have a little role for you.’ I said, ’What do I play?’ and he said, ‘Doctor Frankenstein.’ So it started like that. It wasn’t any agent, or casting, it just came like that, and then when we finished Frankenstein, someone else was supposed to be Dracula, but he said, ‘I guess we’re going to have a German Dracula.’ And I said, ‘Who?’ and he said, ‘You, but you have to lose twenty pounds.’ So I didn’t eat any more for four days and then I became a very weak Dracula. And then, of course, because these two films became so famous, in a way, cult films, and then, for example, when I was cast for Blade, it was this time, playing the overlord vampire, and I like it, because the vampire, it has, a lot of people don’t know that from Romania, Count Dracul was a real, living person. He was Count Dracul, and he was a horrible person. And the legend came over the years that he was a vampire, people disappeared, people were biting, biting girls at midnight, so it… so you have a lot of fantasy. And there were famous people who were Dracula before me, so I have to be good to fulfill the chain of all the famous vampires. But it’s not me who’s looking for vampires, though. It’s interesting, though. It’s more interesting as an actor to play people who are fantasy characters.
Heather Buckley: What about something like in The Story of O? How did that find you?
Udo Kier: The Story of O? I did not want to make that movie. I was embarrassed for the opening of Frankenstein, and Polanski, we went together to a nightclub, and somebody came and said, ‘We saw your movie, we’d like to offer you the part in The Story of O, the leading man.’ And I said, ‘No way! I’m not going to do porno films!’ and then, after these people left, Paul Morrissey was there for his premiere, and he said, ‘Of course, you must take this movie. You will get so much publicity.’ It is one of the most famous books, which was forbidden for years, and so I made the movie. I made the movie, and I had a good time making that movie, The Story of O. If I had it again to do it over, I’d do it differently, but it was very French. Very French.
Heather Buckley: How is it working with all of the greenscreens on Iron Sky? That must be a big contrast from doing something like Melancholia with a full cast.
Udo Kier: In Iron Sky — Well, it was wonderful because it was all built as a set, it was up in a studio in Sweden, and greenscreen was kind of… we used to go, I mean, I know the story and I know the storyboards, and each time we had a scene, we would have a little meeting before and we would look at, the actors would look at the storyboards, But it is very different and it is very intense how you work with your actors, with your partner, because you have to concentrate much more. There’s nothing to distract you in the background, nothing like a plane going by; you’re just focused on the situation, with the actors who you are talking to or the situations you are observing. So I liked it, I liked it.
I liked it for a film like this; it works, but for example, for drama, or something realistically... for example I used to sleep in Germany, in Europe, I would sleep at night in the sets if it were my house. I would stay there one night. And I would look at every drawer because I made it mine. It’s like, I remember... actors, there are different actors. One actor does this and does this, but if you do greenscreen, you don’t have to because you just look at the storyboard, and you know where you are, and what is the situation. What is in the background. Is there a spaceship landing or... It’s a different thing. It works for black comedy. It works. But for a realistic film I don’t think it works, I mean, I never got the offer, never tried, but sets are very important, and lighting of course. Film is shadow and light, and light is very important.
I remember when I was making one of my first films, For Love or Money, with Michael J. Fox in New York, and we all had lighting doubles, and I went up to my lighting double and said, ‘If I stand here and you walk away, do you still get paid?’ and he said, ‘Yes.’ So I stood there with all the doubles, and Barry Sonnenfeld comes over the loudspeaker and says, ‘Udo, tell us why you are standing there,’ and I said, ‘It’s true, I want to know where the light is coming from.’ So, of course, I got the best lighting for the scene because it’s very important. I like to have fun. I don’t like to spend my time in my trailer, waiting my time to be called. I don’t like that. I like to have fun making movies. Seriously, but still having fun...I’m off to another interview; the tricky part is remembering what you’ve already said.
Heather Buckley: Well, I saw you do the panel for Theatre Bizarre up at the Fantasia Film Festival so good job with that one.
Udo Kier: Oh, thank you. Theatre Bizarre was strange because it was wonderful doing a film where I was a puppet and not knowing all the films and being there. I did it in basically one afternoon, being a puppet, and I really had a good time doing that.
Heather Buckley: Buddy Giovinazzo (Combat Shock) mentioned you while discussing his new film [Night of Nightmares]. He recently directed you in something for German television. He said it was the first time you acted in your own actual dialect.
Udo Kier: I played a homeless person in Cologne; I was born in Cologne so I could use the dialect. It was wonderful. And I was very proud because the TV show, it’s a police show, you know, like every week, and they have normally six million people watching it, and the episode I played in it had nine million so I was very proud, and it was the biggest rating for one year, for all these police shows. Buddy is a very good director. I made two films with him, some television, and he is a very good director. He is like Lars von Trier; he doesn’t like actors to act - just be there, be yourself, and not trying to be acting.
Iron Sky, directed by Timo Vuorensola, stars Julia Dietze, Götz Otto, Peta Sergeant, Udo Kier, and Kym Jackson.
You can bring Iron Sky to your city with TUGG, a collective action web-platform that enables users to choose the films that play in their local theaters. Select a film, screening time, and a nearby theater, and spread the word - once a necessary amount of people commit to attending, TUGG handles the rest!
Be sure to check out the official Iron Sky page on TUGG to get started.
In the last moments of World War II, a secret Nazi space program evaded destruction by fleeing to the dark side of the moon. During 70 years of utter secrecy, the Nazis construct a gigantic space fortress with a massive armada of flying saucers...and now they're coming back to claim Earth for their own.
Two Nazi officers, ruthless Klaus Adler (Götz Otto) and idealistic Renate Richter (Julia Dietze), travel to Earth to prepare the invasion. In the end, when the moon Nazi UFO armada darkens the skies, ready to strike at the unprepared Earth, every man, woman and nation alike must re-evaluate their priorities.
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