Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s new film, ‘Never Look Away,’ was inspired by the remarkable life of German artist Gerhard Richter. The director spent weeks cozying up to the painter, now 86, and for a while Richter seemed to be happy to cooperate. Then it all went kaput: Richter trashed the film based just on the trailer. The filmmaker is taking it in stride--Richter may not like ‘Never Look Away,’ but the Academy nominated it for best foreign language film.
This is von Donnersmarck’s second nomination; he won in the foreign language category in 2007 with his debut feature, ‘The Lives of Others.’ That film followed a Stasi agent in East Berlin who faces a moral crossroads as he’s assigned to spy on a playwright.
In between that film and this, he stumbled hard with the much lighter, and much more expensive Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie flop, ‘The Tourist.’
Von Donnersmarck talks about why he made the ‘The Tourist,’ going back to Germany to make ‘Never Look Away,’ and explains that while he hopes to one day be on friendly terms with artist Gerhard Richter again, at the moment he’s not holding his breath.