Wiedemann & Berg Film, producers of Oscar-winning The Lives Of Others, are to be reunited with actor-producer-director Matthias Schweighöfer for his third directorial outing Vaterfreuden later this year.

The Munich-based production outfit first worked with Schweighöfer when he was one of the leads in Markus Goller’s 2010 comedy Friendship!, which was the first project of the reactivated Deutsche Columbia Pictures Filmproduktion.

Vaterfreuden, which is based on Murmel Clausen’s first novel Frettsack published last year, is set to be the second project in Schweighöfer’s four-picture deal with Warner Bros. Entertainment and will be produced with the actor’s production company Pantaleon Films.

For full production details

The first project in the Warner deal was Markus Goller’s Frau Ella which was produced by Pantaleon Films last summer.

Schweighöfer will play a 30-something whose greatest desire is to finally settle down and start a family – until an attack on his manhood by his flatmate’s ferret renders him unable to have children. But fate then gives him another chance: his previous donation to a sperm bank has now been allocated to the woman of his dreams. All they have to do is meet and fall in love.

Vaterfreuden has already received funding from FFF Bayern and the German Federal Film Board (FFA).

Schlussmacher release

Meanwhile, today (Jan 10) will see Schweighöfer’s second film as actor-director-producer, Schlussmacher (Break Up Man), being released by 20th Century Fox on 414 screens in Germany.

The comedy, which sees Schweighöfer playing a professional “separator” who works for an agency in Berlin assisting couples in breaking up, is being released in Switzerland by Fox Warner and in Austria by Thimfilm Filmverleih.

Schlussmacher was Pantaleon Film’s second project co-produced with the German arm of Fox International Productions after Schweighöfer’s highly successful feature debut What A Man which was the second most successful German film in 2011 with 1.8m admissions and $ 16m box office

Speaking exclusively to Screen Daily in Berlin this week, Sanford Panitch, president of Fox International Productions (FIP), recalled how the announcement of plans for Schweighöfer’s second project with Fox was made even before What A Man had opened in the cinemas in September 2011.

“We felt good about the movie [What A Man] as a quality film and, clearly, he was a director and so charming and funny. Vincent [de la Tour, CEO of Twentieth Century Fox of Germany] felt optimistic about the results. In the spirit of that, Matthias brought us another idea and we jumped onboard what became Schlussmacher.”

Further projects in development

Panitch confirmed that FIP is continuing to develop further projects with Schweighöfer and Pantaleon Films: “We have a great relationship and I don’t think this [Schlussmacher] will be the last film we make with him.”

In response to Schweighöfer’s comment in a German newspaper interview that Schlussmacher had the potential for an English-language remake, Panitch remarked: “He mentioned to us that he thought that this was a potentially good idea, and certainly if there are local German films that we produce where we think they could become Hollywood remakes, that would be great.”