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INT: Jurgen Prochnow

04.18.2006


Set Visit Intro / Jurgen Prochnow / Paul Soter & Erik Stolhanske / Steve Lemme & Kevin Heffernan / Jay Chandrasekhar

Jurgen plays such intensely fierce dramatic roles that you half-expect him to knife you with a concealed sword if you so much as look at him the wrong way. As we learned, nothing could be further from the truth. Not only was he the nicest guy in the world, he relished the opportunity to do something funny and silly like BEERFEST.

Jürgen Prochnow

Who’s your character?

My character is the great beer baron of Munich and owns one of the greatest breweries in Munich. And of course that means real wealth because if you know how much money beer is and how much beer people drink and consume every year…so very influential person. And he opens always the Oktoberfest inside of the story and so that means tapping the keg. The ceremonial keg. And that’s a very important duty. You mustn’t spill any drop there otherwise it’s bad luck for the Oktoberfest. And we’ve got a guy there, his [character’s] great grandson, telling him about the whole thing and that’s the opening of the movie.

Are you a fan of these guys? Have you seen their previous films?

Oh, you mean the Broken Lizard?

Yeah…

Yeah, I’ve seen the SUPERTROOPERS. And yeah, I like them very much. That’s why I’m doing this.

Do you play it straight or is it really silly?

No, I think I try to play it as straight as possible because the situations are really funny and I think you have to go for the character and take it really seriously otherwise it’s not funny anymore.

They seem to like to take very respectable actors like Brian Cox and make them do silly things. Have they asked you to do anything unusual?

Not really, no. For example, as you probably know, I did a movie years back [called] DAS BOOT. And I was the captain in that movie and we had a little u-boat scene in here and in that movie. And I’m wearing this hat here [in both movies] and that was my intention to do this because the guys are going for recipe [for beer] from Germany to US in the u-boat and find the recipe over there. Which is really funny so you have to give credit to those guys. They’ve done a lot nice scenes here.

They doing a good job of recreating it (Germany)?

Yeah, definitely, in terms of costume, everything is really authentic.

Did you give any advice on how people might act?

Yeah, of course, I can help a little bit cause I’ve seen it all. I’ve lived there in Munich a couple of years so I know how it feels and what it is like. I’ve been to the Oktoberfest many times and I know all about the Bavarian stuff.

How are they writing the German characters?

Yeah, I mean, this is for a comedy, of course, sometimes it’s supposed to be over the top a little bit, which is necessary for a comedy. So we have five German guys in lederhosen here and they’re all my [character’s] great grandsons. (laughs) That’s very funny. And they’re my team and the drinking team here.

Is there any German with subtitles?

There’s some German dialogue in there with subtitles, yeah. I’ll speak some German, they asked me to. I even translated my own scene once into German. [The scene was] being shot in German and in English.

How’s Jay as a director?

Very nice, very nice guy to work with. I mean, they [Broken Lizard] have been together for many years. And then they’re writing scripts together and so they know what they wanna do. And everybody’s here almost every day [and they know] what they’re doing. It’s nice to work with them.

And how is the research going? You’re drinking?

Well, me, of course, I mean, I’ve been there so I know about the situations. I’m very well accustomed…

So beer drinking in advance for this?

Beer drinking in advance as a special gift I would say (laughs)

What does the movie beer taste like?

What do you mean?

They have to use fake beer, right?

For drinking purposes, there’ll all kinds of different techniques they’re using but they’re mixing stuff, of course. It looks like beer but it isn’t.

I can’t imagine it’s very good, what does it taste like?

(laughs)

American beer in general…

(laughs) American beer in general taste terrible.

You haven’t done many comedies over the years.

No, that’s why I’m doing this. I’m happy to do this because all over the years, I’ve done so many movies but hardly ever a comedy. People generally cast me for the heavy [drama] so this is a nice opportunity.

This is a fast shoot. They’re doing it in a month or so. Is there pressure on you to perform?

No, no.

How many days are you working?

I was here three weeks in February and now I’m back here for a couple of days and that’s it.

So it’s a fairly major role in the film?

Yes.

So do you run the games that they’re doing?

Yes. In the Beerfest that is a special invention for the movie that’s a competition of beer drinking, all kinds of plays involved there in an arena like in a boxing arena, very similar to that. A lot of people are watching. And that’s a key to that scene, in a way. And every team has five guys – and I have five German guys in lederhosen – and there are teams from all over the world – Eskimos – and there’re all kinds of different techniques to drink beer.

Do they actually have beer drinking contests at the real Oktoberfest?

Well, I would say they make it up themselves. If you watch the Australians over there, for example, or the U.S. guys or the Italians or whatever, you know, it’s just hilarious, what they drink, it’s unbelievable. And the Bavarians as well, you know, (laughs)

What’s been the most fun sequence for you to shoot?

Well, I would say that it was the Beerfest scenes that were really very very funny. And then the u-boat scene for me personally…

Besides breaking the keg, what else do you do in the movie?

My part is in the opening scenes and then being after the recipes and the training scenes. Oh, that was a funny scene as well – training my guys for the beer drinking competition with computers and high tech and everything, watching it like a trainer, a coach, coaching them how to do the best that they can.

Is there a lot of ad-libbing?

A little bit. I think more with those guys. But sometimes with me as well.

You like doing that? You like ad-libbing?

Yeah, yeah, I do. The other day we had a scene in a cab here and it was a lot inventing scenes, start a dialogue in there, it was fun.

What’s Wolfgang gonna think of the U-boats?

I have no idea. (laughs)

Ok, thank you very much.

BEERFEST goes wide on August 25th

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

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