Steve Hudson, British actor/director in Cologne
19 May 2006, COLOGNE- He played a nasty schemer in a TV series. Now, as a director Britain's Steve Hudson is doing his bit for society and justice.
19 May 2006
COLOGNE- He played a nasty schemer in a TV series. Now, as a director Britain's Steve Hudson is doing his bit for society and justice.
When you gaze into the steel-blue eyes of this likeable Briton, it's hard to imagine him as a back-stabbing impostor. Yet, during his first years in Cologne, that was precisely his main role, at least in front of the camera.
As Philipp Brander in the soap Forbidden Love on Germany's ARD network, Steve Hudson destroyed the existence of others, until his own came crashing down around him.
"I like acting, but I wasn't born to do it," says Hudson. Since then, he has forged a career as a director and screenplay writer - with impressive results.
"As a writer and director, I can be creative, tell my own stories and make films that move people," says Hudson, who was born in London in 1969 and grew up in the city.
Eleven years ago he came to Germany out of love, married, became a father and is "very happy here to this day." Germany is a "country of consensus," he says and laughs to find himself still comparing his adopted country with the land where he was born.
In England there is more controversial debate and politics are more radical, he says, adding, "In Germany people still themselves as one society, so there are fewer social extremes."
Hudson has a keen interest in social problems in both countries. After studying philosophy at Cambridge and a lot of learning-by-doing in theatre, film and television, Hudson now directs films that deal with serious themes such as drug addiction, motherhood and human trafficking.
For his latest project he is currently spending up to 12 hours a day editing footage or shivering during filming in the Scottish Highlands.
For the German-English co-production entitled Dragnet, Hudson succeeded in casting well-known Scottish actors Peter Mullan and Martin Compston.
The gripping drama tells the story of simple fishermen, who smuggle desperate Chinese refugees to England in their boat. "It's a microcosm with global resonance that Steve has skilfully created here," says Mullan on the set in Cologne.
"What I'm interested in are the reasons people do these things," says Hudson, referring not only to the millions of refugees who rely on human smugglers but also the profiteers.
"Things aren't always black and white, or can't always be defined as good and evil," says Hudson, who admits to having a fondness for exploring moral grey areas.
"The question of responsibility is key for me," says Hudson. It's a question he already grappled with in his award-winning short film Goodbye starring Anna Thalbach.
The handsome, eloquent filmmaker doesn't just make social dramas, he also likes comedy, attempting a delicate balancing act between art and entertainment.
"The most important thing is to find your own, authentic voice," he says, praising German cinema, which he says is finding its own voice.
Like England, Germany has always had a problem with its own identity. "Except in football, where you can easily recognise a team by its colours," jokes Hudson, who says he's looking forward to the World Cup.
The English are better at losing than the Germans. "It comes down to one thing: drive and inspiration," he says by way of conclusion, harking back to his own passion for cinema.
Dragnet is produced by Ariel Films in Cologne with the support of the film foundation of the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia and is slated for release in cinemas in 2007.
Subject: German news