EXCLUSIVE: Tour de Force director to adapt TC Boyle’s cult novel Water Music.

Tour de Force’s Christian Zübert is looking to make his first English-language directorial debut with an adaptation of TC Boyle’s cult novel Water Music.

Boyle’s semi-fictional historical adventure novel is set in the late 18th and early 19th century, following the parallel adventures and intertwining fates of its protagonists, the fictional petty criminal Ned Rise and the famous Scottish-born explorer Mungo Park who led expeditions into Western Africa.

Speaking exclusively to Screen ahead of Tour de Force’s North American premiere at TIFF tonight [Sept 8], Zübert said that Water Music is “a combination of Indiana Jones in Africa and an 18th century Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It’s really off-the-wall and very emotional. I think it would now be the time where one could make this film thanks to the possibilities of digital technology.”

Zübert is currently at the stage of writing the screenplay from Boyle’s novel for the Munich-based production outfit Lieblingsfilm.

Before that, this autumn will see him directing Ein Atem which he describes as “an emotional drama between two women, a Greek and a German [to be played by Jördis Triebel], set against the backdrop of the economic crisis”.

“It is a story that I’ve been developing for the past three years and I am really looking forward to it because the style of narrative changes when we move from one woman to the other. I like films where there is a break in the middle, but the story remains a whole - as in The Crying Game, for example. It’s as if the story starts anew and what’s fascinating is how to make sure both parts hold together.”

Ein Atem will be produced by Ulf Israel at Senator Film’s Cologne-based production arm, Senator Filmproduktion.

Meanwhile, Oscar-winning film-maker Florian Gallenberger, who made his debut as a producer on Tour de Force, is also preparing his own English-language directorial debut with the escape thriller Colonia Dignidad, his first feature film since the China-based John Rabe.

Colonia Dignidad, which will be produced by Majestic Filmproduktion with Munich-based Rat Pack Filmproduktion and Luxembourg’s Iris Productions, follows two young Germans caught up in the aftermath of the Pinochet putsch in Chile in the early 1970s and the role played by the infamous Colonia Dignidad sect as a torture centre by Pinochet’s henchmen.