China Diary

Day 124: An Ode To Udo

Friday was the last shooting day of the week, and the first and only day we shot with Udo Kier for this production. Those of you who know my work from earlier films know that Udo has been an integral part of my body of work: he played one of the key roles in Iron Sky and, although the film is not out yet, he played a double role for Iron Sky The Coming Race, appearing as both villains of the movie. So no surprises there, I’ve spent a lot of time with him on and off set, and for Iron Sky: The Ark, I specifically wrote a scene and built a set for him, so although I had him only for one day, the set was beautiful and designed for him.

Udo had arrived few days before and day before the shoot, he appeared suddenly on the set wearing an all-white suit and a moustache made out of his own hair (that is very Udo move to make). He walked straight to Andy and asked if it was good. I thought it’s quite good, but it wasn’t brilliant, but I really didn’t have any other solution in mind, so that’s what we went with.

The day was quite a heavy one. We started off with a scene taking place in the same location but without Udo, and around halfway through, broke off for lunch and a press conference, where the cast, the producers and the media were present. We all spoke nicely about the production, but didn’t really go into great lengths to explain it in depth: we still have about one year to go until the film comes out, so we need to save some treats for later. But we did launch our cast – Andy, Duan, Rhydian and Udo – and sent out a small press release as well.

Directing Udo

As we came back from the conference, it was time to bring Udo in. Working with him is always great. His style is very involved, he thinks in detail how to deliver one specific line, and manages to create an aura of something weird and wicked happening even if he’s just talking some rather mundane dialogue. His style and accent are just irreplaceable. Even though every word doesn’t come out exactly as written on the script, he’s a joy to work with, as always, and delivers always the most amazing roles – no matter how big or small ones.

We spent the evening chasing the lines and creating a wonderful small character – like Udo said, “Timo, since I’m here only for one day, I need to make a role nobody will ever forget.” Well, I believe we succeeded in it.

In the evening, we headed out to celebrate Udo’s wrap party at a local bar close by. The next day would be a day off, so it was natural to have a good party with white wine, burgers, pizzas and other stuff they miraculously had in the bar for us westerners. The night went long with Pekka and Roope, since it wasn’t just Udo’s wrap, but also last day for them to be in town. We talked bullshit, played some pool and listened to David Bowie since we were the only customers in the bar after midnight.

Udo knows how to party! That damn blitz can was empty by the time we finished that evening.

We sent my dear friend Udo off with kisses and hugs, and promises that we’ll work together again very soon on something amazing and crazy.

I also thanked Pekka and Roope for being here for me after Annika had left to fill at least a piece of the hole she leaves in my heart every time we are apart. They would be on their way back to Finland through Beijing tomorrow, and then it would be just me and Mika to represent Finland over here until… well. For quite some time.

Team Finland, representing! Roope, Mika, me and Pekka.

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