BLACK BOOK is an action thriller, inspired by real life events. Gerard Soeteman and director Paul Verhoeven took twenty years to write the script for this film, which marks Verhoeven's return to the Netherlands. The lead actors in this European co-production, which is mostly Dutch spoken with some German, English and Hebrew, are Carice van Houten, Sebastian Koch, Thom Hoffman, Halina Reijn, Christian Berkel and Waldemar Kobus. Other parts are played by Michiel Huisman, Derek de Lint, Peter Blok, Dolf de Vries and Diana Dobbelman, among others.
BLACK BOOK was produced by San Fu Maltha for Fu Works, Jos van der Linden for Hector, Frans van Gestel and Jeroen Beker for Motel Films in the Netherlands, and by Teun Hilte for Clockwork Pictures (GB) and Jens Meurer for Egoli Tossell Films (GER). Studio Babelsberg (GER) and AVRO were co-producers.
Karl Walter Lindenlaub is director of photography, Wilbert van Dorp is production designer, Yan Tax is costume designer, Winnie Gallis and Dick Naastenpad were responsible for hair and make-up, Willem de Beukelaer was stunt coordinator, Erik van Wouden gaffer and Harry Wiessenhaan handled special effects. Casting directors were Hans Kemna, Job Gosschalk and Risa Kes (Germany). Editors were Job ter Burg and James Herbert, and Anne Dudley composed the music.
BLACK BOOK had a budget of over €17 million. The European co-production received financial support from the Netherlands Fonds voor de Film, CoBO fonds, Medienboard Berlin - Brandenburg, FFA National Filmboard, Eurimages, and the city of The Hague.
The film was shot on various locations in The Hague, Giethoorn, the Biesbosch, in the Babelberg Studio in Berlin and in Israel.
Carice van Houten plays review star Rachel Steinn, who during the war goes into hiding and assumes the name Ellis de Vries. With a group of Jews she tries to escape to the already liberated south of the Netherlands. The plan fails and the entire group is killed and robbed. Only Rachel survives.
In 1999 and 2000 Van Houten won Golden Calfs for her parts in the TV-film Suzy Q and the feature film Minoes. The Calf for Minoes was presented to her by Paul Verhoeven. She also played in TV films and feature films like Storm in Mijn Hoofd, AmnesiA, Het Everzwijn, De Passievrucht, Lepel, Knetter and Ik Omhels Je met Duizend Armen. Van Houten graduated in 2000 from the Amsterdam School of Acting, Musical Theatre and Cabaret. She has also appeared in stage plays like Elektra, Hedda Gabler, Een Meeuw, Het Bewijs and the musicals Foxtrot and Ren Lenny Ren.
Thom Hoffman plays the part of Hans Akkermans, a doctor who proves to be a cool-headed resistance fighter and who takes care of Rachel/Ellis.
BLACK BOOK is Thom Hoffman's second collaboration with Paul Verhoeven after The Fourth Man in 1983. Hoffman, who is also a successful photographer, made his film debut in 1982 in Lüger by Theo van Gogh. In 1992 he starred in Gerard Soeteman's De Bunker. He appeared in over fifty international feature films and TV productions, such as De Witte Waan, Zoeken naar Eileen, The Birdwatcher, Force Majeure, 45 &
730; Paralello, Dogville and the series Russen. Hoffman directed the documentaries De Domeinen Ditvoorst and Dennis Hopper: The Decisive Moments.
Halina Reijn plays the opportunistic Ronnie, who becomes a good friend of Rachel/Ellis. Ronnie works for the Germans to survive, but her heart is in the right place.
Halina Reijn is a versatile film and stage actress. In recent years she appeared in such films as: De Passievrucht, Polleke, Grimm, Moonlight, Villa des Roses, Zus & Zo, Îles Flottantes and Ik Omhels Je met Duizend Armen.
Reijn also played many stage parts with De Trust, De Theatercompagnie and Toneelgroep Amsterdam, of which she is still a member. Last year she published her first novel, Prinsesje Nooit Genoeg. Her website is: www.homepage.mac.com/halinareijn
Sebastian Koch plays Ludwig Müntze, head of the SD. His humanity and his innate decency keep this social democrat and keen stamp collector from lapsing into cruelty.
German Sebastian Koch is a busy film, TV and stage actor. He has recently appeared in such feature films as: Das Leben der Anderen, Das Fliegende Klassenzimmer, Amen and Gloomy Sunday - Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod.
Christian Berkel plays SS general Käutner, a dangerous bureaucrat who follows orders to the letter.
Since his debut in 1977 German actor Christian Berkel has played in over fifty feature films and TV films. He recently played in Der Untergang, Das Experiment and episodes of the TV series Tatort: Teufel im Leib and Bienzle und der Mann im Dunkeln.
Waldemar Kobus plays SD officer Franken, a blood-thirsty and ruthless hunter of Jews and their possessions.
He has appeared in such films as: (T)Raumschiff Surprise, Besser als Schule, Narren, Ober by Alex van Warmerdam and has also made many guest appearances in crime thrillers such as: Schimanski, Ein Fall für Zwei and various episodes of the Tatort TV series.
Michiel Huisman plays Rob, the boy who takes Rachel in when her hiding place is bombed.
BLACK BOOK is Huisman's sixth film, after Costa!, Phileine Zegt Sorry, Floris and Johan. He also appeared in TV series such as: Goede Tijden Slechte Tijden, Spangen, Costa! and the TV films Suzy Q and Uitgesloten. In addition to his work as an actor Huisman is also lead singer and guitarist in the band Fontana.
Derek de Lint plays communist Gerben Kuipers, leader of a resistance group.
For Derek de Lint BLACK BOOK is his second film with Paul Verhoeven. In Soldier of Orange he played Alex, a Dutch Nazi party member who joins the SS. De Lint frequently appears not only in Dutch films, but also in many international productions. In the Netherlands he was cast in feature films such as: Kort Amerikaans, Van de Koele Meren des Doods (The Quiet Lakes), Bastille, De Aanslag (The Assault), Rituelen and Lang Leve de Koningin (Long Live the Queen) and in successful TV productions like Willem van Oranje, Herenstraat 10, Dossier Verhulst and Mevrouw de Minister. His work on international feature films includes: Three Men and a Baby, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Deep Impact and the series China Beach and Poltergeist: The Legacy.
Peter Blok plays the part of Van Gein, a shameless and ruthless war profiteer.
In 2005 Peter Blok starred in Leef! the opening film of the Netherlands Film Festival. Film and stage actor Blok has appeared in such feature films as: Stille nacht, In Oranje, Cloaca, Madelief and De Jurk and on TV in Lieve Mensen, de Daltons, Oud Geld and Pleidooi. On stage he was in Cloaca, The Prefab Four, Familie, De Formidabele Yankee and Wie Vermoordde Mary Rogers?
Dolf de Vries and Diana Dobbelman play Mr. Smaal and his wife. Mr. Smaal is a decent and trustworthy notary, to whom Jews entrust their money and valuables.
Both De Vries and Dobbelman go back many years with Verhoeven. Diana Dobbelman played Floris' love Countess Ada in the TV series Floris. She later appeared in films Pastorale 1943, De Stilte rond Christine M. and De Mannetjesmaker and in popular TV series like De Fabriek, Sanne, De Brug, De Zomer van '45, In Naam der koningin and Goede Tijden Slechte Tijden.
De Vries appeared in earlier Verhoeven films such as: Turkish Delight, Soldier of Orange and The Fourth Man and in Gerard Soeteman's De Bunker. His resume also includes his work on feature films such as: Het Debuut and Vroeger is Dood, and TV productions like Dossier Verhulst and Onderweg naar Morgen. Dolf de Vries has published 26 novels, collections of short stories, children's books, columns, poems and in recent years travel books entitled 'In Een Rugzak.'
Paul Verhoeven - director
Paul Verhoeven directed his first film Een Hagedis Teveel in 1960, followed by the TV series Floris and the box office hit Turks Fruit (Turkish Delight) starring Monique van der Ven and Rutger Hauer. His next exploits were Keetje Tippel, Soldier of Orange, Spetters and The Fourth Man. In 1999 Turkish Delight was honoured as the Best Dutch Film of the Century; it was also nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Verhoeven's international breakthrough came with RoboCop, followed by the box office hits Total Recall and the trailblazing Basic Instinct. In 1997 he made Starship Troopers, an indictment of the establishment; Hollow Man is his most recent Hollywood film.
Gerard Soeteman - original story and screenplay
Gerard Soeteman as from 1969 wrote the scripts for Verhoeven's TV series Floris and his films Wat Zien Ik?, Turkish Delight, Keetje Tippel, Soldier of Orange, Spetters, The Fourth Man and Flesh & Blood. Soeteman continued to write scripts for him when Verhoeven went to America. Films about an attack on Mandela and on Robert van Gulik's character Judge Dee, however, never materialised. Currently, Soeteman is working for Verhoeven on the script for Batavia. In 1992 Soeteman directed De Bunker from his own script about resistance fighter Gerrit Kleinveld. Soeteman also wrote the scripts for Max Havelaar, Mijn Vriend, The Assault, Floris and the TV series Recht voor z'n Raab.