Tuesday 23 October 2018

Steven Berkoff to star in a 21st Century take on Goethe's 'Faust'

Steven Berkoff Announced as star of The Last Faust, Goethe’s Epic Play Re-Imagined for the Big Screen by Pop-Expressionist Artist, Philipp Humm 
Berkoff stars in The Last Faust as 'Dr Goodfellow'
23rd October, London, UK: Steven Berkoff will be starring in The Last Faust, Goethe’s epic play re-imagined for the big screen by pop-expressionist artist, Philipp Humm. Berkoff will play Faust's successor, Dr Goodfellow, whose narratorial performance forms the backbone of the feature film, which is planned to start festival runs next year.

The Last Faust film will be a world first. Due to its near 14 hour performance time, Faust parts 1 and 2 have never been filmed together, nor have they been presented on stage more than three times since 1830. Philipp Humm has made it his mission to make this epic German classic digestible for modern cinema goers, and has successfully condensed both parts into two unique yet intertwined stories, with a running time of under two hours. Humm felt compelled to make Faust into a film after experiencing Salvador Dali’s water colour illustration of Dante's Divine Comedy in 2016. He wanted to breathe new life into a piece of German theatre that spoke to him, similarly to how Dali reinvigorated Dante.

Berkoff's protagonist, Dr Goodfellow of Faust 2, is loosely modelled around the many outstanding Silicon Valley leaders Philipp Humm met in his former Tech career. Goodfellow, successor of Faust and CEO of Winestone Inc., is a genius scientist in blind pursuit of technological progress. Even when he is on his deathbed, Goodfellow compares himself to Euphorion, a half-God, who died out of a youthful ambition, instead of a man who is responsible for mass destruction of the human race. There is no resolution or catharsis in this tale of perilous human greed.

Humm needed an actor with a wealth of experience to narrate the complex intricacies ofFaust. Berkoff, being a master of both theatre and cinema, seemed the perfect fit for this role. His natural ability to bring stories alive in a poetic, physical and heightened way is what attracted Humm's attention. He admires Berkoff for the diversity of his acting style, calling him "A man who has the depth of Kafka and the cinematic presence appropriate for Hollywood productions." He adds, "We are honoured to have worked with him."
Berkoff Snippet

Logline: Prodigal scientist and technology entrepreneur, Dr Faust, seeks to emulate God’s ability to create life. He sells his soul to the devil in order to realise his greatest ambition - to create the world’s first super-human. However, in the process, he unleashes a much darker force on to the world.

Based on the tragic play by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Last Faust is told from the perspective of Faust’s future successor Dr Goodfellow, (Steven Berkoff). Faust’s pact with the devil has unleashed technology that threatens mankind and Dr Goodfellow, as the current CEO of the world’s biggest Tech company, Winestone Inc., races against a ticking clock to document what may be humanity’s last remaining hours.

The Last Faust is a multi-faceted exploration of what it is to be human, complex and rich in contemporary references. Besides the pact with Mephisto, the film tells of Faust's tragic love story with 16 year old Gretchen and his blind passion for the mythological goddess, Helena. As well as travelling through real and mythological worlds, The Last Faust also transcends time, as Dr Faust punctuates key German historical moments such as the advent of money printing, the Greek war, and the beginnings of the cynical materialism of the modern day Church.
Steven Berkoff Biography
Steven Berkoff was born in Stepney, London. After studying drama and mime in London and Paris, he entered a series of repertory companies and in 1968 formed the London Theatre Group. Their first professional production was In The Penal Colony, adapted from Kafka’s story. East, Steven’s first original stage play, was presented at the Edinburgh Festival in 1975. Other original plays include Messiah: Scenes from a CrucifixionThe Secret Love Life of OpheliaWestDecadenceGreekHarry's ChristmasLunchAcapulcoSink the Belgrano!MassageSturm und Drang and Brighton Beach Scumbags6 Actors in Search of a DirectorActor’s Lament and a series of plays performed under the umbrella title ‘Anarchy and Religion’ – How to Train an Anti-Semite, Guilt, Roast, Gas and Line-up. 

Among the many adaptations Berkoff has created for the stage, directed and toured are The Trial and Metamorphosis (Kafka), Agamemnon (after Aeschylus), and The Fall Of The House Of Usher (Poe). He has also directed and toured productions of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus (also playing the title role), Richard II (for the New York Shakespeare Festival), Hamlet and Macbeth as well as Oscar Wilde’s Salomé. He directed and performed in Massage in Edinburgh and Los Angeles, and has performed One Man and Shakespeare’s Villains at venues all over the world. His production of On the Waterfront had a critically acclaimed run in the West-End. His plays and adaptations have been performed in many languages and many countries including Japan, Germany, Greece, Israel, Australia and America. His adaptation of Oedipus was recently performed at the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina following a run at the Edinburgh Festival. In 2015 Steven Berkoff played Saddam Hussein in Anthony Horowitz’s Dinner with Saddam at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory.

Films Steven has appeared in include A Clockwork OrangeBarry LyndonThe PassengerMcVicarOutlandsOctopussyBeverly Hills CopRamboRevolutionUnder the Cherry MoonAbsolute BeginnersThe KraysFair GameAnother 9 ½ WeeksLegionnaire,Rancid AluminiumForest of the GodsThe Flying ScotsmanPU-239 and 44-inch Chest.  He directed and co-starred with Joan Collins in the film version of Decadence. More recently, he completed a film version of Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Tell-Tale Heart.’ In 2010 he appeared in The Tourist with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie; and in 2011 David Fincher’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Another 2011 credit is the independent film, Moving Target.

Television productions include: West (Limehouse/Channel 4), Metamorphosis (BBC), Harry's Christmas (Limehouse), Silent Night (Initial/Channel 4), and Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart (Hawkshead/Channel 4). Television credits include War and RemembranceMichaelangelo – A Season of GiantsSinsAttilaIn the BeginningBeloved EnemyThe Intruders, New TricksHotel BabylonThe Borgias and Vikings.

He has published a variety of books, such as the short story collections Graft: Tales of an Actor (Oberon Books) and Gross Intrusion (Quartet Books), the production journals I am HamletMeditations on Metamorphosis (Faber and Faber), Coriolanus in Deutschland (Amber Lane Press), and A Prisoner in Rio (Hutchinson); his autobiography Free Association (Faber), a photographic history The Theatre of Steven Berkoff (Methuen), and travel writing, essay and poetry collections Shopping in the Santa Monica Mall (Robson Books), America (Hutchinson), and Overview (Faber). Faber has published Berkoff’s collected plays in three volumes, as well as The Secret Love Life of OpheliaRequiem for Ground Zero (Amber Lane Press), Steven’s tribute to September 11th in verse, coincided with a run at the Edinburgh Festival, followed by a one-year anniversary performance in London. His most recent books include My Life in Food (ACDC) a collection of paeans to food and comfort; You Remind me of Marilyn Monroe charting personal thoughts pains and passions in verse; his memoir Diary of a Juvenile Delinquent; and in 2011 - Tales from an Actor’s Life, semi-fictional stories detailing the nuances of this profession. His collection of One Act Plays were published by Methuen in 2013. His novel Sod the Bitches! was published by Urbane in 2015.

Steven Berkoff has completed a variety of voiceover work and books on tape, including Kafka’s Metamorphosis and The Trial for Penguin Audiobooks and Henry Miller’s Nexusfor Prelude Audio Books. Radio productions include the title role in Macbeth (Radio 4; available through Penguin Audiobooks) and his live music debut as the MC in Cabaret(Radio 2). He has also recorded An Actor’s Tale, a selection of his short stories, for Radio 4.

Steven has exhibited his photographs of London’s old East End at several galleries in London; his Glasgow ‘Gorbals 1966’ exhibition at Street Level Photoworks currently runs until 16th Sept’18.  Many of his books and DVD’s can be found at www.stevenberkoff.com
About Philipp Humm 
Philipp Humm is a London based German artist and former tech manager. Until 2015, Humm was CEO for companies such as Vodafone, T-Mobile and Amazon. As an artist, Humm is widely acclaimed by the international press and has had numerous exhibitions in the US, UK, Italy and Germany, including solo exhibitions at the Saatchi, Riflemaker and Hix galleries in London. He graced Wall Street Journal‘s front page when he announced his career change from CEO to artist.  The renowned art critique Edward Lucie Smith has written a book on Humm’s works on paper. This is Humm’s first film.

Humm is 59 and father of 3 adult children. He has a BA in Philosophy from University of Saarland and a MBA from IMEDE, Switzerland.  Humm lives with his life partner Daniele Mah, a portrait photographer who also co-produced The Last Faust. Humm is not only producing a film on Goethe’s Faust, but also creating the largest photographic illustration ever to accompany a film. He is also writing a novel on The Last Faust and will follow with paintings and sculptures to become a monumental body of work.

Humm’s inspiration to make Faust into a film came to him after seeing an exhibition of Salvador Dali’s water colour illustration of Dante's Divine Comedy in 2016. He says, “I felt like doing something similar with a piece of German theatre that really matters to me.” Humm didn't become acquainted with Goethe's Faust until he was older and wanted to explore more of his German roots, but he felt an instant connection with the text when he realised that he could relate Goethe's drama strongly to our modern tech society and the most fundamental existential questions of humanity.

Film Credits
The Last Faust is a The Humm Collection Production, from a screenplay by Philipp Humm and Ellen Waddell, with Dominik Wieschermann as co-director, cinematographer and editor. It stars Martin Hancock as Faust, Glynn Dilley as Mephisto, Edwin de la Renta as Homonculus/Paris and Yvi Mai as Gretchen. 

110 min

Phillip Humm and Dominik Wieschermann

Steven Berkoff: Doctor Goodfellow
Martin Hancock: Doctor Faust
Glyn Dilley: Mephisto
Edwin De La Renta: Homunculus/ Paris
Yvi Mai: Gretchen
Scarlett Mellish Wilson: Helena
Isabella Bliss:  Angel

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