“Das Boot”, the director of “Air Force One” was 81 years old

Wolfgang Petersen, the German director whose Oscar-nominated underwater film ‘Das Boot’ propelled him to direct Hollywood projects such as Brad Pitt in ‘Troy’, George Clooney in ‘The Perfect Storm’ and Harrison Ford in “Air Force One”, died, he was 81 years old.

Petersen’s rep, Michelle Bega, told USA TODAY the director died Friday at his home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Born in Emden, Germany, Petersen’s searing portrayal of a German World War II submarine in 1981’s “Das Boot” (“The Boat”) garnered six Oscar nominations, with two nominations for Petersen: best director and best adapted screenplay.

The anti-war film also caught Hollywood’s attention.

Brad Pitt talks about the “Troy” stunt on ATV:“We got in trouble for that.”

Petersen then directed Clint Eastwood as a Secret Service agent in the 1993 thriller “In the Line of Fire” and Dustin Hoffman in the 1995 global pandemic virus thriller “Outbreak.”

Ford portrayed President James Marshall, whose plane is hijacked by terrorists in Peterson’s 1997 thriller “Air Force One,” one of the most popular action films of the 1990s.

Glenn Close, who played Vice President Kathryn Bennett, recalls that although the action was intense, Petersen provided levity, particularly filming a scene at a huge table in the War Room.

Harrison Ford as James Marshall in "Air Force One."

“Wolfgang set up a remote-controlled camera that could shoot on location, covering all of us seamlessly, one after the other,” Close told USA TODAY in a statement. “You knew the camera would stop on you by his hilarious direction when setting up the shot. He would take turns pointing at us and saying, ‘Act…act…NO act … NO act … ACT . .. aaaact!’ He wasn’t wasting anyone’s time. My memory is that of a man full of joie de vivre who did what he loved to do the most.

In 2000, Petersen helmed the box office hit “The Perfect Storm,” the story of doomed Gloucester fishermen starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg.

In 2004, Petersen directed “Troy,” a Hollywood version of Homer’s epic, starring a bloated Brad Pitt as hero Achilles, Eric Bana as Hector, Orlando Bloom as Paris, and “Succession” star Brian Cox as Agamemnon.

Petersen was surprised before filming to see Pitt, who was to play the Greek warrior hero who leads the fight against Troy. Pitt had long dark hair, a beard, and had lost weight for another role.

“I was shocked when I saw him,” Petersen told Vanity Fair in 2019. “I said, ‘Jesus Christ, that’s not what Achilles looks like. “

Over a beer in a German restaurant, Pitt promised Petersen that he would look like Hollywood’s version of Achilles. The star followed, achieving his biggest physical transformation as Achilles. As Pitt told USA TODAY this year. “I worked hard for this role.”

USA Today

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