The film is based on the true story of Eleanor Riese, a patient in the mental illness unit of the St. Mary’s Hospital in San Francisco, who, together with her lawyer Colette Hughes, fights against forced medication and for the right of physical integrity.The movie shows two strong characters, who despite a difficult start and Eleanor’s complex personality, and apart from their fight for justice, develop a deep friendship.
Bille August, who won an Academy Award and the Golden Palm twice, is directing this important and moving film, based on a screenplay by Mark Bruce Rosin. Cinematography is by Filip Zumbrunn.
For the international co-production, an all-star cast was assembled. Two-time Academy Award winner, Hillary Swank plays the lawyer, Colette Hughes. Eleanor Riese is played by two-times Academy Award nominee and seven-time Golden Globe nominee, Helena Bonham Carter. Golden Globe winner Jeffrey Tambor appears as Professor Mort Cohen, who supports the dedicated Colette as mentor and leading attorney.
Anita Elsani (elsani film, Cologne), Sara Risher (Los Angeles), Mark Bruce Rosin (Los Angeles), and Lesley Neary (Los Angeles) back this exceptional film project as producers. Anita Elsani is responsible for the production and brought the project to Germany. Peter de Maegd and Tom Hameeuw (Potemkino Port, Belgium) are co-producers, as well as Bastie Griese and Philip Borbély (MMC Movies, Cologne). The film is set up as a German-Belgian co-production.
Anita Elsani about the film project: “We are extremely pleased that we were able to bring international stars to Cologne, and to realize the film as a German production company. It is quite exceptional that we are filming this American story here in Europe, while also taking the lead as producers.”
Bastie Griese about 55 Steps: “We are very proud at the MMC that, together with Anita Elsani, we were able to set up this outstanding and international co-production in North Rhine-Westphalia with a genuine star ensemble. 55 Steps demonstrates once more, the great projects that can be realized here with the support of the Film Foundation North Rhine-Westphalia. Personally, I’m also delighted that with 55 Steps we can carry on our very pleasant and successful cooperation with Elsani Film.”
55 Steps is supported by the German Federal Film Fund, the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW (Film Foundation North Rhine-Westphalia), Screen Flanders (Belgium) and the Belgian tax shelter.
In mid-April 2016, the shooting of 55 Steps began in San Francisco. However, the major part of the movie will be shot in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The studio scenes are filmed in the MMC Studios in Cologne.
In 2017, 55 Steps will reach the theaters in Germany. The world sales are conducted by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, Los Angeles.
Photo: 55 Steps – f.l. writer Mark Bruce Rosin, producer Lesley Neary, co-producer Bastie Griese (MMC Movies), executive producer Laurie Shearing, Helena Bonham Carter, director Bille August, Hilary Swank, producer Anita Elsani (elsani film), Petra Müller (Film- und Medienstiftung NRW), Jeffrey Tambor and Cynthia Hoppenfeld in the MMC Studios in Cologne / Germany. © Bernd Spauke