Genre: Thriller / Action / Drama
Plot Outline: World War II action drama about a U.S. Navy submarine
captain on a risky mission to swipe a decoding device from a stranded German
ship. Michael Douglas leads a search to recover an Enigma machine, which the Third
Reich used to encrypt/decrypt its communications, from a German U-boat
(U-571) during World War II.
Shooting started January 25, 1999 in Rome for 8 weeks then
moves to Malta for 8 weeks.
Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
Universal Studios is making a World War II film about a bunch of Americans
captured Hitler's Enigma machine and subsequently broke the Nazi codes.
The film has raised
more than a few hackles in Britain - because the capture of the
machine was in fact made by the British Navy - and it was British experts that
cracked the codes at the top-secret Bletchley Park base in Buckinghamshire.
Their work led to
the deciphering of German navy messages and helped to save
many British convoys.
'Based on real events'
The Enigma machine
was vital cracking Hitler's secret codes. The $55m
Hollywood production, expected to star Harvey Keitel and Jon Bon Jovi, is also
considering switching the action from the mid-Atlantic to the Mediterranean. The
studio said it won't promote the film as fact but will instead say it is based on real
The Royal Navy said
it is not surprised by the Hollywood plans. "It is unfortunate,
but it is not the first time, and I am sure it will not be the last, that Hollywood has
The recent World
War II blockbuster Saving Private Ryan angered some British
veterans because the film only showed Americans in northern France.
'Typical American approach'
Captain Joe Baker-Cresswell
was the wartime commander of the Royal Navy
destroyer HMS Bulldog which seized the machine from a German U-boat in May
Speaking on BBC Radio
4's Today programme his son Charles Baker-Cresswell
said he was disappointed by the film.
"It's a typical American approach. We've seen this time and time again."
Pearl Harbour: The
subject of many US World War II film. sBack in 1941 the
submarine that was carrying the enigma machine had already sunk two ships from
the convoy the Bulldog was accompanying, when depth charges forced it to the
Luckily Captain Baker-Cresswell
decided to board the submarine before sinking it
- an action he later described as a "whim".
The crew found vital
code books which the German crew had not had time to
destroy. They listed the top secret codes the Germans were to use for the next four
months of the war.
said of his father's discovery: "As soon as they got the
stuff on board he realised he had something pretty rare."
From JAM! Showbiz:
Free to Rome
McConaughey's a big
star here -- but he's a big nobody in Italy
By LOUIS B. HOBSON -- Calgary Sun
HOLLYWOOD -- Matthew
McConaughey loves Italy.
"It's one of the first places I've been in the last couple of years where nobody
knows or cares who I am," explains the lanky Texan, who's in Rome filming the
Second World War submarine movie U-571. His co-stars include Bill Paxton,
Harvey Keitel and rocker Jon Bon Jovi. "All the Italian paparazzi are running after
Harvey and Bon Jovi. It's so refreshing to be left alone."
U-571 from Michael Douglas, who was attached to the
project for almost a year.
"I think Michael
realized he was a bit too old for the character. Heck, at 29, I'm a
bit too old to be playing the captain of a Second World War sub."
that U-571 won't be "one of those kick-ass summer
action movies. It's going to be much more like a Das Boot." McConaughey is still
developing a film on the life of daredevil Evel Knievel. "I'm determined to do the
safer stunts, but I'll leave all his fantastic stuff up to professional stuntmen."
Next up for McConaughey
is EDTV, which opens March 26.
From the World Entertainment News Network:
JON BON JOVI and HARVEY KEITEL are set to boost tourism in Malta thanks
to the Mediterranean holiday island's offshore water tanks.
Sea-faring movies such as RAISE THE TITANIC and pirate flop CUTTHROAT
ISLAND have already made use of Malta's famous deep-water tanks - which
allow movie makers to shoot from dry land with an open-sea backdrop.
And now Bon Jovi, Keitel and MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY's latest movie
project - war film U-571 is set to make use of a new underwater facility in
A Maltese Embassy spokesman says, "The tanks have become big tourist spots
because people love to see where and how the big films are shot. We hope U-571
has the same impact."
From the Reuters newswire:
ROME, Feb 12 (Reuters) - ``Saving Private Ryan'' did it for the Normandy
landings. ``U-571,'' a new World War Two epic adventure, aims to do it for the
battle of the Atlantic.
The film tells of a bold bid by U.S. sailors to steal the German coding
Enigma, from a stranded U-boat in 1942 and so to turn the tide of the war.
``The texture of the movie is completely authentic,'' director Jonathan
Reuters Television at Rome's legendary Cinecitta studios where filming started last
``The guys who were on the submarine were young, like our cast. All the
the submarines, all the technical aspects, the commands issued, the type of things
that happen are all based on reality. This is the way it was,'' he said.
Mostow's movie, starring Hollywood tough guy Harvey Keitel, Matthew
McConaughey and singer-turned-actor Jon Bon Jovi, is veteran Italian producer
Dino De Laurentiiis' 600th film.
Set as the Allies were reeling from British prime minister Winston Churchill's
warning that they were about to lose the war in the sea, the film takes its inspiration
from two operations in which German U-boats were captured by U.S. and British
``Like in 'Saving Private Ryan', the story is a story that weaves together
a lot of
incidents that are based in fact into a fictional story,'' Mostow said, stressing the
qualities he wanted to bring to the fore were ``realism and authenticity.''
``The last news conference I did here in this studio was for the filming
of 'War and
Peace' in 1954, 45 years ago,'' said the diminutive 79-year-old. ``I'm happy I'm still
The price of making movies has shot up in that time -- De Laurentiis said
would cost $90 million, mostly because engineers had to construct replica U.S. and
``We searched for World War Two submarines everywhere in the world but
find one so we had to construct one in the shipyards in Malta,'' he said. The film will
shoot on location in the Mediterranean island later this year.
Mostow said the crew had ``spared no expense and made every effort to ensure
the texture is real.'' One stroke of luck was finding a mint-condition, original Enigma
in Dortmund, Germany.
One of the production designers, Goetz Weidner, worked on the
German-submarine movie ``Das Boot'' and scriptwriter David Ayer is a former
U.S. Navy sonar operator who served on a nuclear attack submarine during the
>From the outside, the sub sets where the interior shots will be filmed
large grey tanks with green and red tubes feeding into them from above and
wooden planks outside.
But step inside and it's like going back in time.
In the German U-Boat, a period gas mask is left on one of the narrow bunks.
smell of grease and paint hangs in the engine room and there is an old-fashioned,
German-labelled tin of condensed milk in the galley kitchen.
Designers have built a special machine onto which sections of the sets
mounted to simulate underwater movement.
``The most difficult part of the film will be the sequences we film on
Mostow said. ``Water is not a friend to film, they don't mix. But we have absolutely
the best people. We have the guy from 'Titanic' who's our marine coordinator, who
did 'Waterworld', who did 'Amistad' -- so we're in great hands.''
Although James Cameron's ``Titanic'' won 11 Oscars, it also turned into
expensive film ever made -- costing $200 million to make and another $100 million