After the worldwide success of The Threepenny Opera, Bertolt Brecht is unwilling to play by the rules of the film industry when it comes to adapting the material. His idea of the "Threepenny Film" is radical, uncompromising, political and pointed. The film industry is reluctant to accept this. While the battle between London gangster Macheath and the head of the begging mafia Peachum begins to take shape before the author's eyes in his film version of the Threepenny Opera, Brecht seeks a public confrontation.
“it has been a mystery to me for years why no one has dared to make a film about this outstanding figure in the history of world literature and theater. at the latest after the fall of the wall, it would have been time for the big brecht film. brecht offers everything. from the kremlin to the car crash. from the boulevard to the committee for unamerican activities. film material en masse. i was all the more happy to play peachum in joachim lang’s film “mackie messer – brecht’s dreigroschenfilm” - which is about a special berlin episode around the premiere of the “dreigroschenoper” and its planned film adaptation. as part of an amazing ensemble. great honor. and challenge. because as a singer i hadn’t really excelled in the past. but with hard work and the help of excellent musicians i managed to do it respectably, i hope. in any case, it was great fun. if you’re wondering “why brecht? today?”, here’s an anecdote. peachum equips men and women for the begging trade. and collects money for it. a lucrative but illegal business. london 1837. for our film, our costume designers also equipped extras as beggars, historically. in an old building on the edge of the korenmarkt in gent. from there, the extras made their way to the set. one day, the police showed up. they had been informed that for a few days, normal people had been entering a building in the middle of the city and shortly afterwards leaving it raggedly, as beggars. this was very much an indication of commercial begging, which should be stopped. gent 2018. almost two hundred years. the sensitivity for misery has not diminished.