by producer/writer Christoph Müller
Goethe is Germany’s most famous and significant poet and thinker, for us an all-time superstar of Poetry and Literature—and I have always wondered why no relevant film about this exceptional person has ever emerged.
Perhaps the reason lies in the fact that it is no easy feat to try to bring him to life on screen. Goethe was so many things: good-looking, from a wealthy family, wrote successful novels, plays and poems; a skilled horseback rider and fencer, who also invented roller-skating, was a scientist, politician, traveler, designer, minister, and advocate. All in all, he was a universal genius—and therefore a persona non grata for any dramatic approach and a challenge to develop as an exciting character in an exciting movie.
But there was a time in the life of the young Goethe when he was full of doubts and anxious to find himself. A time when an unrequited love nearly drove him to his very end—and a time when writing was his only hope.
And so Philipp Stölzl and I try to tell a story only about this small time period when Goethe was 23 years old, and when through his grief of love, he achieved his first worldwide artistic success, The Sorrows of Young Werther.
The attraction of this story is to show Goethe not as a myth or as a jack-of-all-trades, as many books, interpretations and theories suggest, but as a young man, who loves—and suffers.
With this movie full of facts and truths about this young poet, we also want to invite a young audience to identify with him, laugh with him—and feel the deepest sorrows with him. And we want to show that no genius in the world is born as a genius....