The Red Phone, handled by Germany's Atlas International, has already garnered sales to Nippon Herald for Japan, Lusomundo for Portugal and Showal for Israel. The $12.5m two-part, spy action vehicle boasts a theatrical-level cast including Arnold Vosloo, Ben Cross, Michael Ironside and Michael Wincott and a particularly contemporary theme.
Written by former MI5 (British secret service) member, Terry Thompson and Steven Whitney, the picture was conceived at a time before terrorism became such a widespread political issue. "Terrorism knows no borders, but traditionally police have been national forces," said Atlas' Dieter Menz. Principal photography was completed by May 2001, but the production went into re-shoots as a consequence of September 11. "We have to keep up with the times," said Philipp Menz, who produced with Jan Fantl for Atlas Film & TV Production with finance from Apollo Media
The film features a multi-national anti-terror group, which like James Bond has available an astonishing array of high-tech wizardry and gadgets. The first story features a kidnapping in the middle of a heads of government conference in South Africa; the second, set in Austria, sees terrorists trading uranium with the Russians.
"In Europe we have the same financial strengths as the Americans if we learn to work together," said Dieter Menz. "The advantage of this is that if we co-produce with European sources we can hire the talent we want - European or American - and still be left with the US rights to sell."