The life of Germany’s first gentleman will be the focus of a new comedy series currently in development at Berlin-based Readymade Films, maker of local hit “MaPa.”
Joachim Sauer, a quantum chemist and professor of physical and theoretical chemistry, is also the husband of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Despite his wife’s international fame, Sauer has managed to keep a low profile and maintain his privacy – until now.
“Herr Merkel” will be about “what it’s like to be the husband of the most powerful female politician in the world,” explained Readymade Films head Laura Bull.
People are used to polite first ladies accompanying their powerful husbands to events like G8 meetings, dinners and galas, Bull said. And then you have this guy, the husband of this powerful woman and himself a genius, a brilliant scientist, who also has to tag along.
“We have to imagine, he’s the only guy with all the other first ladies. There are these funny press photos where you have seven or eight ladies and you have him in the middle.”
Sauer is said to be a fun guy at international summits of world leaders, however, and is known to cut the rug and enjoy the wine, Bull added.
She stressed that while funny and satirical, Sauer’s portrayal will be respectful.
“That’s important to me — we want him as a kind of hero, because he’s such an amazing scientist too. … Especially after corona, the scientists are our heroes. He’s kind of a lovely, nerdy first man.”
The company is planning to develop a pilot for the show before approaching potential partners. “I always like to have a pilot before I go out — something that is not common in Germany,” Bull said. “You can easily send out pitches or a one-pager, but when it comes to comedy, I always like to pre-develop a pilot,” which is also helpful to see how the show can best be made, she added.
Alexander Lindh and Jano Ben Chaabane, the creative team behind “MaPa,” are penning “Herr Merkel.”
Readymade Films is also developing an as-yet-untitled dark comedy mockumentary series “about a f—-d-up family,” Bull said.
She described it as a bit like HBO’s “Succession,” “but a very German story.” “It’s about power and making money through very illegal means — something that has maintained Germany’s economic strength — and what it’s like being part of that, she added. “It’s a very dark and sarcastic German comedy.”
Readymade Films is likewise developing an action series for Amazon but the company is keeping details under wraps.
Lindh and Chaabane, meanwhile, are also continuing their work on season two of “MaPa,” which stars Max Mauff as a young single father struggling to raise his baby daughter.
The show has become a hit for German streaming platform Joyn. The series, co-produced by regional pubcaster RBB, has helped the streamer attract a demographic that has been largely neglected, Bull noted.
“This is what we always had in mind – to target a group that is so big but is overseen. Who I mean is me and everybody I know who has kids and a job and a modern life. For us there wasn’t that much on offer. And yeah, it worked out.”
Readymade Films’ other credits include “Culpa,” a 2017 crime drama miniseries about an enigmatic priest (Stipe Erceg), which it produced NBCUniversal International Networks’ 13th Street pay channel.