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(Daltons vs. Lucky Luke, Die)

Andreas Fallscheer, Til Schweiger, Philippe Haim, Alfred Huermer (photo © Malcom Media Group AG)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 02/2004

Philippe Haim, who shot the wickedly black comedy Barracuda in North Rhine-Westphalia with Gemini Film in 1999, returned to Cologne earlier this year for Die Daltons vs. Lucky Luke.

The €27 million comedy is based on elements from a dozen comic albums from the Lucky Luke series penned by the Belgian comic artist Morris (whose real name was Maurice de Bévère). In total, 72 albums featuring Lucky Luke appeared in the French original from 1946 until Morris' death, and a new adventure with Lucky Luke and the Dalton brothers will appear this summer. According to the German publisher Ehapa Verlag, the cult comic series is the third most popular in the classic cartoons sector after the Disney comics and Astérix and Obelix.

Lucky Luke was previously adapted for the cinema screen in a live-action feature starring and directed by Terence Hill in 1991, but this time around, Germany's Til Schweiger is playing the eponymously cool hero who can draw his Colts faster than his own shadow and ensure that law and order are upheld by regularly packing the hapless Dalton brothers off for a term in prison.

The up-and-coming comedy stars Eric Judor and Ramzy Bedia, known to cinema audiences from their appearances in La Tour Montparnasse Infernale (Don't Die Too Hard) and Double Zéro, play Joe and Averell Dalton with Said Serrari and Romain Berger making up the quartet as Jack and William. Meanwhile, Marthe Villalonga plays Ma Dalton who can't take the fact that her boys haven't yet followed in their late lamented Pa's footsteps and made a big criminal career for themselves. The only problem is that they are complete morons and, to cap it all, are cowardly and scatterbrained.

Ma, who has had enough of their failures, issues an ultimatum: either they attack the Gulch City Bank or she is throwing them out of the house. They obey and set off to rob the bank but, as luck would have it, fall victim to the bank's new cutting-edge security system. Lucky Luke captures them easily and throws them into jail. However, thanks to Ma smuggling in shovels cleverly disguised as sausages, the brothers manage to escape, but they still have to rob the impregnable bank. This is when it looks as if a magic sombrero might solve all of their problems...

The Western parody is structured as a European co-production with France's UGC Images putting up the bulk of the financing and Alfred Huermer's Integral Film and Spain's Sogedasa/Castelao Productions coming in as co-producers. The first four weeks of shooting took place at the MMC Studios in the Cologne suburb of Ossendorf where the Daltons' hacienda, a bank, vault room and a jail were all constructed, and then production moved to the old Spaghetti Western location of Almeria in Spain.
Genre Comedy
Category Feature
Year of Production 2004
Director Philippe Haim
Screenplay Michael Hazanavicius, Eric Judor, Ramzy Bedia
Cinematography David Carretero
Olivier Raoux
Cast Ramzy Bedia, Eric Judor, Said Serrari, Romain Berger, Marthe Villalonga, Til Schweiger, Sergi Lopez
Producers Yves Marmion, Said Ben Said, Alfred Hürmer, Carlos Fernandez
Production Company UGC/Paris, in co-production with Integral Film/Berg, Sogedasa/Barcelona
Format 35 mm, color
Shooting Dates MMC Studios Cologne and in Spain, January - April 2004
With backing from Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Eurimages
German Distributor Falcom Media Group/Berlin

UGC International
24, Avenue Charles de Gaulle
92522 Neuilly-sur-Seine/France