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Clown, The (Clown, Der)

Clown, The
Scene from "The Clown" (photo © AAC/Martin Kurtenbach)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 03/2003

Now is a good time for cinemas to start fitting seatbelts and airbags because with enough explosive action to warrant a public health warning, one of Germany’s most successful TV-series is heading for its big screen debut.

Der Clown is top agent Max (Sven Martinek). Supported by journalist Claudia (Diana Frank) and helicopter pilot Dobbs (Thomas Anzenhofer), he’s a crime fighter who wears his (under)pants on the inside of his trousers! With his trademark clown’s mask, tongue lightly in cheek and a wink in his eye, our hero rights wrongs and shows bad guys crime really doesn’t pay.

But this time Max pays a heavy price when Claudia is killed by an unknown gangster. Our hero decides to hang up his mask. Four years pass ...

Now he’s out to rescue Claudia’s sister Leah (Eva Habermann) from the clutches of evil gangster Zorbek (Goetz Otto), whom, it transpires, is Claudia’s murderer. But that’s just the beginning! And Zorbek has bigger fish to fry. The clock is now ticking and the adrenaline pumping.

With two pilot films and forty-four episodes, Der Clown has been a major success for commercial broadcaster RTL. The first TV-movie (November 1996, director Hermann Joha) attracted 8.77 million viewers with a market share of 37.1% in Germany (viewers aged 14-49). The first series reached 5.28 million viewers with a 23.7% share. Der Clown has also been sold to, among others, Finland, France, Italy, Canada, Korea and Latin America.

For millions, Sven Martinek is Der Clown - a role he has made his own. Thomas Anzenhofer is also to be seen in the cops and autobahn series, Alarm fuer Cobra 11 (also an Action Concept production), while Eva Habermann is no stranger to both TV and cinema. Among her many credits are the sci-fi series Lexx - The Dark Zone and the latest film from Oskar Roehler, Angst (Der alte Affe Angst). Bad guy Goetz Otto has menaced the best, from James Bond (Tomorrow Never Dies) to playing a Nazi officer in Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List.

Action Concept, Europe’s largest stunt specialists, is also the world’s biggest full-service producer of action formats with some 1,620 minutes output a year.

With the feature Der Clown, says producer Joha, ”we’re taking the quality to another level by adding additional production value - making it more suspenseful - and a lot faster - ultimately pure cinema!”
Genre Adventure
Category Feature
Year of Production 2003
Director Vigg Sebastian
Screenplay Timo Berndt
Cinematography Diethard Prengel
Amina Lorenz, Martin Habig
Cast Sven Martinek, Thomas Anzenhofer, Eva Habermann, Goetz Otto, Dirk Heinrichs
Producer Hermann Joha
Production Company Action Concept/Hürth
Format Super 16
Shooting Dates Duesseldorf and surrounding area, May - June 2003
With backing from Film- und Medienstiftung NRW
German Distributor Universum Film

Action Concept Film- & Stuntproduktion GmbH
An der Hasenkaule 1-7
50354 Hürth/Germany
phone +49-22 33-50 81 00
fax +49-22 33-50 81 80