After winning every award under the sun, leading up to his inevitable and well-deserved Oscar-win for Best Supporting Actor for his breakout role in Inglourious Basterds, Austrian-born actor Christoph Waltz will be making his feature directorial debut in the German-language romantic comedy Up And Away.
Loosely adapted from Meike Winnemuth and Peter Praschl’s novel Auf und Davon, the film is set in and around a dating game show, and centers on a woman who runs and hosts the show, who through a series of events, must confront her callous feelings about romance, which place a greater emphasis on its marketability than emotion.
Waltz says of the story, “When you make feelings a commodity, it’s not a feeling anymore.”
Waltz already has some experience behind the lens, previously directing for German television. But Up And Away is somewhat of a passion project for Waltz, who co-wrote the film’s script and may play a supporting role, as he's been considering making the film for some time. "But I never had time to do something else” besides acting, Waltz explained.
Now that Waltz's career in the States is paying out in a big way -- with a starring role in The Green Hornet, and a role in Water for Elephants, which goes into production this summer -- he now has the time to direct. But how soon he will begin production is up in the air, considering he's choosing from among three different roles after Elephants, which will likely result in a 2011 start date.
The bigger question is, will Up and Away get releases in the U.K. and the States? Fox International is producing and distributing the film. The Fox shingle (like a number of similar divisions at other studios) produces movies in specific countries that don’t necessarily play in theaters in other parts of the world.
Fox International President, Sanford Panitch, explained:
Maybe there’s an opportunity for ‘Up and Away’ to travel, but that’s not the business model. We are making the movie for the German audience — and it’s a big enough market to matter, the fifth biggest in the world.
Waltz hopes he can be an easy director for his cast, saying:
I want to be the kind of director that I as an actor would want to work with.
Since he'll have a role in the film, will Waltz be as kind of a director when directing Waltz? He’s still uncertain, joking:
We haven’t decided yet. I think it will be physically hard to be on both sides of the camera.
What do you think of Waltz directing UP AND AWAY? What do you think of the setting? Do you want the film to get a US/UK releases?