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Petersen, Wolfgang 1941-

Petersen, Wolfgang 1941-

PERSONAL

Born March 14, 1941, in Emden, Germany; married Ursula Sieg (an actress; divorced 1978); married Maria Borgel, 1978; children: (first marriage) Daniel (a filmmaker). Education: Attended Deutsche Film-und Fernsehakademie Berlin (German Film and Television Academy Berlin); also studied theatre arts at drama schools in Berlin and Hamburg.

Addresses:

Office—Radiant Productions (also known as Radiant Films and Radiant Television), 914 Montana Ave., Second Floor, Santa Monica, CA 90403. Agent—Creative Artists Agency, 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067. Publicist—Ali Forman Public Relations, 8222 Melrose Ave., Suite 305, Los Angeles, CA 90046.

Career:

Director, producer, and writer. Jungen Theatre, Hamburg, West Germany (now Germany), assistant director, 1960; Ernst Deutsch Theatre, Hamburg, West Germany (now Germany), director and actor, 1964-69; Radiant Productions (also known as Radiant Films and Radiant Television), Santa Monica, CA, partner and filmmaker.

Member:

Directors Guild of America.

Awards, Honors:

Film Award in Gold, outstanding individual achievement by a new director, German Film awards, 1974, for Einer von uns beiden; Prix Futura Award, Berlin International Film Festival, 1975, for Smog; Prix Italia and Best Director Award, Monte Carlo Television Festival, both 1982, for Reifezeugnis, a feature film that was originally broadcast as an episode of the television series Tatort; Bavarian Film Award, best direction, 1982, Academy Award nominations, best director and best writing, screenplay based on material from another medium, Film Award nomination, best foreign-language film, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and Directors Guild of America Award nomination, outstanding directorial achievement in motion pictures, all 1983, for Das Boot; Bambi Award, 1984; International Fantasy Film Award nomination, best film, Fantasporto, 1985, for Die unendliche Geschichte (also known as The NeverEnding Story); Critics Award nomination, Deauville Film Festival, 1991, for Shattered; Bambi Award, international film category, 1995; Bambi Award, best direction, 1997, for Air Force One; ShoWest Award, director of the year, National Association of Theatre Owners, 2001; Bayerischer Verdienstorden, 2003.

CREDITS

Film Work:

Director, Der Eine-Der Andere, 1967.

Director, Die Rote Fahne, 1968.

Director, Ich nicht, 1969.

Director, Ich werde dich toeten, Wolf (documentary; also known as I Will Kill You, Wolf), 1971.

Director and producer, Einer von uns beiden (also known as One of Us, One or the Other, and One or the Other of Us), 1973, Transocean International, 1978.

Director, Die Konsequenz (also known as The Consequence), Almi Cinema V/Prestige, 1977.

Director, Schwarz und weiss wie Tage und Naechte (also known as Black and White Like Day and Night and Black and White Like Days and Nights), Monaco/Radiant/Osterreichischer Rundfunk Fernsehen/Westdeutscher Rundfunk/New Yorker Films, 1978.

Director, Das Boot (also known as The Boat, A tengeralattjaro, El barco, El submarino (Das Boot), Le bateau, Sukellusvene U-96, To ypovryhio, U-baaten, U-Boot 96, and Ypovryhio U-96—Epistrofi stin Kolasi), Columbia, 1981, subtitled version released by Triumph Releasing, 1982, extended version released as a miniseries on the German television networks Suddeutscher Rundfunk (SDR) and Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), 1985, director's cut released in 1997.

Director, Die unendliche Geschichte (also known as The NeverEnding Story, A historia sem fim, Den oaendliga historien, Ha-Sippur Sh'Eino Nigmar, Historia interminavel, L'histoire sans fin, La historia interminable, La historia sin fin, La storia infinita, Niekonczaca sie opowiesc, Paeaettymaetoen tarina, and Vegtelen toertenet), Warner Bros., 1984.

Director, Enemy Mine (also known as Enemy, Enemy Mine—Geliebter Feind, Enemigo mio, Fiender, Il mio nemico, Inimigo meu, Kedves ellensegem, Moj ukochany wrog, Muj nepritel, Os inimigos, and Vihollisen armoilla), Twentieth Century-Fox, 1985.

Director and producer, Shattered (also known as Plastic Nightmare, Troubles, Busqueda mortal, Doedligt spel, Hitnap'tzoot, La nit dels vidres trencats, La noche de los cristales rotos, Pelon sirpaleet, Prova schiacciante, Pulsacoes explosivas, Szilankok, and Tod im Spiegel), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1991.

Director and executive producer, In the Line of Fire (also known as The Secret Service, B'Kav Ha-Esh, Dans la ligne de mire, Die zweite Chance, En la linea de fuego, En la linia de foc, I skottlinjen, In the Line of Fire—Die zweite Chance, Lige paa kornet, Na linha de fogo, Na linii ognia, Na ognjeni crti, Nel centro del mirino, Sur la ligne de feu, and Tulilinjalla), Columbia, 1993.

Director and producer, Outbreak (also known as A virus, Alerte!, Epidemia, Esclat, Estallido, Fora de controlo, Hitpar'tzoot, I farozonen, Izbruh, Outbreak—I farozonen, Outbreak—Lautlose Killer, Tehdit, Tuntematon uhka, and Virus letale), Warner Bros., 1995.

Director and producer, Air Force One (also known as AFO, Air Force One: Avion presidentiel, Air Force One, el avion del presidente, Avion presidencial, Az Elnoek kueloengepe, Forca Aerea 1, Forca Aerea Um, Predsednicki avion, Presidendi lennuk, and Ugrabitev), Columbia, 1997.

Executive producer, Red Corner, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1997.

Executive producer, Instinct, Buena Vista, 1999.

Producer, Bicentennial Man (also known as Andrew Martin, Andrew NDR114, Andrew, clen nasi rodiny, Der 200 Jahre Mann, El hombre bicentenario, Ish Ha-Mataim, L'homme bicentenaire, L'uomo bicentenario, O anthropos ton dyo aionon, O homem bicentenario, Omul bicentenar, Robotin elaemaeae, Robotmennesket, 200-aarsmannen, and 200-aars mannen: Bicentennial Man), Buena Vista, 1999.

Director and producer, The Perfect Storm (also known as Perfect Storm, Den perfekta stormen, Der Sturm, En pleine tempete, Furtuna perfecta, Gniew oceanu, La tempesta perfetta, La tempete, La tormenta perfecta, Mar em furia, Meren raivo, Tempestade, Tormenta perfecta, and Una tormenta perfecta), Warner Bros., 2000.

Director and producer, Troy (also known as Untitled "The Iliad" Project, Troia, Troie, Troija, Troja, Trooja, and Troya), Warner Bros., 2004.

Director and executive producer, Chicxulub (short film), 2006.

Producer, Poseidon (also known as The Poseidon Adventure, Le Poseidon, and Poseidon'dan kacis), Warner Bros., 2006.

Associated with other productions.

Film Appearances; Documentaries:

Himself, Shooting "In the Line of Fire," Sony Pictures Releasing International, 1994.

Himself, One Vision, Vienna Productions, 1998.

Himself, Michael Ballhaus—Begegnung mit dem Auge Hollywoods (short), Creative Individual Arts/Protovision Entertainment, 2001.

Himself, Starbuck Holger Meins, Neue Visionen Filmverleih, 2002.

Television Executive Producer; Series:

The Agency, CBS, 2001-2003.

Television Director; Miniseries:

Die Stadt im Tal (also known as The Town in the Valley), Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), 1975.

Das Boot (also known as The Boat and Le bateau; extended version of the 1981 feature film DasBoot), Suddeutscher Rundfunk (SDR) and Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), 1985.

Television Director; Movies:

Stadt auf Stelzen, Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), 1966.

Assistant director, Kuckucksjahre (also known as The Cuckoo Years), 1967.

Anna und Toto, 1972.

Smog, 1973.

Van der Valk und die Reichen (also known as Van der Valk and the Rich), 1973.

Aufs Kreuz gelegt (also known as Pinned to the Ground), 1974.

Kurzschluss, 1975.

Stellenweise Glatteis (also known as Icy in Spots), 1975.

Hans im Glueck (also known as Hans's Good Fortune), 1976.

Vier gegen die Bank (also known as Four against the Bank), 1976.

Planuebung (also known as The Rehearsal), 1977.

Television Executive Producer; Movies:

Avenger, TNT, 2006.

Television Director; Episodic:

Tatort (also known as Scene of the Crime), Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), various episodes, 1971-75.

"Reifezeugnis" (also known as "For Your Love Only"), Tatort (also known as Scene of the Crime), Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), 1977, released as a film by Cannon Releasing, 1982.

Television Executive Producer; Pilots:

The Agency, CBS, 2001.

Associated with other television productions.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Himself, The 100 Greatest War Films, Channel 4 (England), 2005.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Himself, In the Line of Fire: Behind the Scenes with the Secret Service, Showtime, 1993.

Himself, Wolfgang Petersen: Mein Weg nach Hollywood, 1995.

Himself, A Day with …, Lifetime, 1997.

Bernd Eichinger—wenn das Leben zum Kino wird, 2000.

Himself, Filmlegenden. Deutsch, 2005.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Himself, "Wetten, dass..? aus Basel," Wetten, dass..?, 1991.

Himself, "Wetten, dass..? aus Emden," Wetten, dass..?, 1993.

Himself, "Creating ‘The Perfect Storm,’" HBO First Look, HBO, 2000.

Himself, Mundo VIP, 2000.

Himself, "World War Two," Film Genre (also known as Hollywood History), 2002.

Himself, "Hollywoodin kierraetysbuumi," 4Pop, 2004.

Himself, "Troy," HBO First Look, HBO, 2004.

Himself, "The Making of ‘Poseidon,’" HBO First Look, HBO, 2006.

Himself, "Menschen fuer Tiere—Prominente engagieren sich fuer den Tierschultz," 37 Grad, 2006.

Himself, Corazon de …, Television Espanola (TVE, Spain), 2006.

Himself, HypaSpace (also known as HypaSpace Daily and HypaSpace Weekly), Space, 2006.

Also appeared in "The Films of Wolfgang Petersen," The Directors, Encore.

RECORDINGS

Videos:

Himself, Creating an Emotion (short), Warner Home Video, 2000.

Himself, Troy: An Effects Odyssey (short), Warner Bros. Entertainment, 2004.

Himself, Troy: From Ruins to Reality (short), Warner Bros. Entertainment, 2005.

Himself, Troy: In the Thick of Battle (short), Warner Bros. Entertainment, 2005.

Himself, Poseidon: A Ship on a Soundstage (short), Warner Home Video, 2006.

WRITINGS

Screenplays:

(With Alexander Ziegler) Die Konsequenz (also known as The Consequence), Almi Cinema V/Prestige, 1977.

(Uncredited; with Karl-Heinz Willschrei and Jochen Wedegartner) Schwarz und weiss wie Tage und Naechte (also known as Black and White Like Day and Night and Black and White Like Days and Nights), Monaco/Radiant/Osterreichischer Rundfunk Fernsehen/Westdeutscher Rundfunk/New Yorker Films, 1978.

Das Boot (also known as The Boat, A tengeralattjaro, El barco, El submarino (Das Boot), Le bateau, Sukellusvene U-96, To ypovryhio, U-baaten, U-Boot 96, and Ypovryhio U-96—Epistrofi stin Kolasi), Columbia, 1981, subtitled version released by Triumph Releasing, 1982, extended version released as a miniseries on the German television networks Suddeutscher Rundfunk (SDR) and Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), 1985, director's cut released in 1997.

(With Herbert Lichtenfeld) Reifezeugnis (also known as For Your Love Only), Cannon, 1982, originally broadcast as an episode of Tatort, Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), 1977.

(With Herman Weigel) Die unendliche Geschichte (based on a novel by Michael Ende; also known as The NeverEnding Story, A historia sem fim, Den oaendliga historien, Ha-Sippur Sh'Eino Nigmar, Historia interminavel, L'histoire sans fin, La historia interminable, La historia sin fin, La storia infinita, Niekonczaca sie opowiesc, Paeaettymaetoen tarina, and Vegtelen toertenet), Warner Bros., 1984.

Shattered (based on the novel The Plastic Nightmare by Richard Neely; also known as Plastic Nightmare, Troubles, Busqueda mortal, Doedligt spel, Hitnap'tzoot, La nit dels vidres trencats, La noche de los cristales rotos, Pelon sirpaleet, Prova schiacciante, Pulsacoes explosivas, Szilankok, and Tod im Spiegel), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1991.

Teleplays; Miniseries:

Das Boot (also known as The Boat and Le bateau; extended version of the 1981 feature film Das Boot), Suddeutscher Rundfunk (SDR) and Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), 1985.

Teleplays; Movies:

Vier gegen die Bank (also known as Four against the Bank), 1976.

Planuebung (also known as The Rehearsal), 1977.

Teleplays; Episodic:

(With Herbert Lichtenfeld) "Reifezeugnis" (also known as "For Your Love Only"), Tatort, Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), 1977, released as a film by Cannon Releasing, 1982.

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 2: Directors, St. James Press, 1996.

Periodicals:

Current Biography, July, 2001, pp. 59-62.

Movieline, July, 2000, pp. 60-65.

Starlog, May, 1995.

Total Film, October, 1997, pp. 26-29.

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"Petersen, Wolfgang 1941-." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Petersen, Wolfgang 1941-." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/petersen-wolfgang-1941

"Petersen, Wolfgang 1941-." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Retrieved October 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/petersen-wolfgang-1941

Petersen, Wolfgang

PETERSEN, Wolfgang



Nationality: German. Born: Emden, Germany, 14 March 1941. Education: Studied theater arts in Berlin and Hamburg at various drama schools, and at the Film and TV Academy in Berlin, where he directed short films. Career: Worked as assistant director at Jungen Theater, Hamburg, 1960; completed studies in film and theater and worked as stage director and actor at the Ernst Deutsch Theatre in Hamburg, 1964–1969; directed six 100-minute episodes for West German TV series Tatort (Scene of the Crime), 1971–1976; directed first feature film, Einer von uns beiden, 1973; earned initial international acclaim with Die Konsequenz, 1977; directed first American feature, Enemy Mine, 1985. Awards: Prix Futura, Berlin Festival, for Smog, 1972; German National Film Prize Best New Director, for Einer von uns beiden, 1973; Prix Italia and Best Director Monte Carlo Television Festival, for "Reifenzeugnis" (episode of Tatort), 1977; Bavarian Film Award for Best Director, for Das Boot, 1983. Agent: CAA, 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212, U.S.A.

Films as Director:

1970

Ich Werde Dich Toten Wolf (I Will Kill You, Wolf) (doc)

1972

Smog (for TV)

1973

Einer von uns beiden (One of Us; One or the Other); Van Der Valk and the Rich (for TV)

1974

Auf's kreuz gelegt (Pinned to the Ground) (for TV); Stadt imtal (Town in the Valley) (for TV)

1975

Stellenweise glatteis (Icy in Spots) (for TV)

1976

Hans im gluck (Hans' Good Fortune) (for TV); Vier genen die ank (Four against the Bank) (for TV)

1977

Die Konsequenz (The Consequence) (+ co-sc); Plannbung (The Rehearsal) (for TV)

1978

Schwarz und Weiss wie Tage und Nachte (Black and Whitelike Day and Night) (for TV) (+ co-sc)

1981

Das Boot (The Boat) (+ sc) (originally a TV mini-series)

1982

Reifezeugnis (For Your Love Only) (+ co-sc)

1984

The NeverEnding Story (+ co-sc)

1985

Enemy Mine

1991

Shattered (+ sc, co-pr)

1993

In the Line of Fire (+ co-exec pr)

1995

Outbreak (+ co-pr)

1997

Air Force One (+ co-pr)

2000

The Perfect Storm (+ co-pr)



Publications


By PETERSEN: articles—

Interview with P. Pawlikowski, in Stills (London), April 1985.

Interview with D. Osswald, in Cinema Papers (Melbourne), May 1986.


On PETERSEN: articles—

Naha, Ed, article in New York Post, 16 February 1982.

Curtin, John, article in New York Times, 15 July 1984.

Article in Variety, 25 July 1984.

Pourroy, J., article in Cinefex (Riverside, California), February 1986.

Honeycutt, Kirk, article in Los Angeles Times, 17 June 1990.

Chutnow, Paul, article in New York Times, 6 October 1991.

Weinraub, Bernard, "Great Expectations Help Two Directors Enjoy the Summer," in New York Times, 6 July 1993.

Anderson, John, article in Newsday (Melville, New York), 8 July 1993.

Abbott, D., "Turning America's Anxieties Into Big-Screen Suspense," in On Production and Post-Production (Los Angeles), no. 4, 1995.

Grob, N., "In the Line of Light," in EPD Film (Frankfurt), June 1996.


* * *

In a review of Wolfgang Petersen's first theatrical feature, Einer von uns beiden—a suspense drama of romance, blackmail, and murder—a Variety critic noted that "After some 20 TV pix, many of them detective stories, Wolfgang Petersen is recognized as West Germany's leading action director in the Hollywood vein."

Not all of Petersen's early films fit into the action genre. The Consequence, for example, is a drama that charts the romantic relationship between an imprisoned gay male and the son of one of his guards. But Das Boot, the film which brought Petersen to international prominence, might easily have been a Hollywood-produced submarine movie spectacle. At the time of its release, Das Boot was the most expensive German film ever made; it originally was shot as a six-hour television mini-series, and was to become the highest-grossing foreign-language film ever released in the United States.

Das Boot is a breathtakingly filmed drama detailing the plight of a German U-boat patrolling the Atlantic during World War II. What is especially impressive about the film is that its scenario runs its course entirely within the tight confines of the vessel. With skill and precision, Petersen uses a Steadicam to visually capture the manner in which the claustrophobic quarters and the constant fear of going into battle affect the crew members, without allowing the lack of space to hamper his directorial style. Furthermore, the film takes on an antiwar aura in that there is an ever-present sense of the wastefulness of war, and the needlessness for the men to have to endure their experience aboard the U-boat. Ironically, Americans who see the film come to empathize with the various characters and pull for their survival—even though, at the time in which the film is set, Germany was America's enemy. Das Boot is at once an action-spectacle with a provocative point-of-view, a tremendously thrilling entertainment—and an impressive Hollywood calling card for Petersen.

The director's next noteworthy production (as well as first English-language feature) is The NeverEnding Story, a German-British-made fantasy about a boy who envisions the story he is reading in a book. Petersen effectively employs his skills as an action director as the book comes alive and a young hero takes on an evil wizard who has threatened to destroy the Kingdom of Fantasia. Unfortunately, the filmmaker faltered in his first two American-made films. Enemy Mine is a middling science-fiction tale, while Shattered is a just-adequate Hitchcock clone about a car crash victim attempting to patch together his life after becoming an amnesiac.

With In the Line of Fire, Petersen redeemed himself and proved that he is capable of making a smashingly entertaining, financially successful, big-budget Hollywood nail-biter. Clint Eastwood plays one of his best roles in a non-Eastwood directed film as an aging Secret Serviceman, haunted by his failure to come between President John F. Kennedy and an assassin's bullet in November 1963, who now must contend with a sadistic killer who aspires to murder the current U.S. chief executive. The director's follow-up, Outbreak, is another topical thriller, in which an army researcher (Dustin Hoffman) races to halt the spread of a killer virus. The film's limitations have to do with the script; what starts out as a credible thriller soon degenerates into a cartoon-like fantasy littered with counterfeit heroics. But Petersen's direction consistently is first-rate. By the late 1990s, the filmmaker was firmly entrenched as a director of slick, high-profile/high-budget Hollywood action-adventures. He returned to the U.S. president-in-danger theme with Air Force One, a topnotch thriller featuring Harrison Ford as a chief executive who, along with his family and staff, is taken hostage by Kazakhstani terrorists while onboard the presidential plane. Petersen also directed one of the most anticipated movies of the year 2000, The Perfect Storm, based on Sebastian Junger's account of a fishing boat lost at sea in a huge storm.

—Audrey E. Kupferberg

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

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"Petersen, Wolfgang." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Petersen, Wolfgang." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/petersen-wolfgang

"Petersen, Wolfgang." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Retrieved October 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/petersen-wolfgang