Winnetou - Credit: MMC Studios / Guido Ohlenbostel

Winnetou – The Myth Lives On! RTL Brings the Cult-Wild West Adventure Back to Prime-time TV

On 25 December, 2016, German commercial channel RTL will broadcast Winnetou – Eine neue Welt (Winnetou – A New World), followed by Winnetou – das Geheimnis vom Silbersee (Winnetou – The Secret of Silver Lake) on 27 December and Winnetou – Der letzte Kampf (Winnetou – The Final Battle) on 29 December. All the interiors of the TV-event trilogy were shot in the MMC Studios in Cologne / Germany.

Airing on three different evenings, these TV films, remakes of the old classic Winnetou movies, will bring old memories flooding back for parents and grandparents and introduce Karl May’s tales of adventure and the Winnetou story to today’s children for the first time.

The books of Karl May’s Winnetou western cycle are the most successful German adventure series ever. They have sold over 200 million copies worldwide, making Karl May, an adventure writer around 1900, who actually never visited the West, one of the most famous German authors of all time. The fame and success of the books were further cemented by the classic 1960s cult Winnetou feature film cycle.

50 years after the last Winnetou adventure kept a whole generation glued to the screen, director Phillipp Stoelzl (North Face, The Physician) shot the three-part high-budget drama in Croatia and in the MMC Studios in Cologne/ Germany, where all the interiors of the TV-event trilogy were filmed on three different soundstages.

In this event mini-series, the legendary friendship of hero Old Shatterhand and of the Apache chief Winnetou is reimagined as an exciting reboot, given a modern-day treatment as an emotionally moving and fascinating adventure journey through the American West.

A favorite among women and men alike, the versatile actor Wotan Wilke Möhring (Hindenburg, Valkyrie) plays ‘Old Shatterhand’, the up-and-coming international shooting-star Nik Xhelilaj (The Albanian) assumes the role of ‘Winnetou’, the multi-faceted and outstanding Milan Peschel (Open the Wall) will be seen as ‘Sam Hawkens’ and the Mexican Iazua Larios (Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto) as ‘Nscho’Tschi’.

Alongside them are brilliant actors for the villains such as Jürgen Vogel (The Wave, The Free Will), who begins to make the heroes’ life difficult as ‘Rattler’, Fahri Yardim (Almanya) and Matthias Matschke (Grand Budapest Hotel) all set off for Silver Lake and Italian cult actor Mario Adorf (The Tin Drum, Nights, When the Devil Came) is returning as ‘Santer Sr.’.

The trilogy Winnetou – Der Mythos lebt (Winnetou – The Myth Lives On; international title: Brotherhood – The Legend of Winnetou Returns, 3 x 2 hours) is a production of Rat Pack Filmproduktion in co-production with Beta Film for RTL Television. Producers are Christian Becker (Vicky the Viking, The Wave) and Christoph Müller (Sophie Scholl, Young Goethe in Love!). Co-producers are Matthias & Felix Wendlandt/ Rialto Film (whose company produced the Winnetou feature films from the 60s), Dr. Marcus Englert, Mythos Film and Tabbenoca.

The scriptwriters are Jan Berger (The Physician) and co-author Alexander M. Rümelin (Volcano, Transporter).

The films are funded by the Film- & Medienstiftung NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany), Bavarian FFF FilmFernsehFonds Bayern (Germany) and HAVC Croatian Audiovisual Centre (Hrvatski audiovizualni centar).

As to the film music, the producers were delighted to attract cult composer Martin Böttcher to this project with his beloved and world-renowned original Winnetou melodies, which were newly arranged and interpreted by Heiko Maile (The Wave, Turkish for Beginners).

Further information: www.betafilm.com

Sources: rtlgroup.com, betafilm.com

Photo: Wotan Wilke Möhring (Old Shatterhand) and Nik Xhelilaj (Winnetou) on MMC’s soundstage 37 in Cologne / Germany. © MMC Studios / Guido Ohlenbostel