For Fatih Akin, it's not such a long way from
washing dishes to making an epic. Here he talks about who inspires
him and what he aspires to.
PK: Adam Bousdoukos, who was also in "Short
Sharp Shock," looks a little like ...
FA: Jim Morrison?
PK: True, but I was thinking more Brendan
FA: He's my best friend. I've known him since
1984. At the age of 10 we met. And we dreamed about what we are doing today. In
the schoolyard we were talking and dreaming about this. When I first wrote "Short
Sharp Shock," that part was always him, you know, the Greek crook. He wasn't a
real crook but he, it was like, it was very much a part of his biography. He
was working at a restaurant at the time as a waiter, and with the fee he got
from the film, like 10,000 Deutschemarks, and he bought the restaurant with the
money. And I was always part of the restaurant, because he was my friend. Even
long after "Head On," his dish machine was fucked, was not working. He asked me
to help to wash the dishes. And I did.
PK: This is like a scene in the movie.
FA: It is. A lot of the scenes in the movie
are based on real episodes that happened at the restaurant.
PK: What about the aphrodisiac?
FA: That didn't happen (laughs).
PK: You should put out a cook book.
FA: Well, the aphrodisiac is actually based
on a cook book recipe. By Isabella Allende ["Aphrodite: A Memoir of the
When we asked ourselves, what should the new chef bring into the restaurant?
What sort of food? Is it like French food or Asian food or cross food? It was a
good question. Like the question in "The Edge of Heaven," which book should the
son give to the father? What is the right symbol for this? So my wife gave me
this book with the aphrodisiac food.
PK: I've read in previous interviews that your
interest is to eventually make a Hollywood
movie. It seems like the third part of your trilogy [which includes "Head-On"
and "The Edge of Heaven"] is going to be
set in the United States.
FA: Well, it won't be a studio thing. It will
be like my own thing. Stuff that I'm writing. I'm still writing. It's the third
part. It's an epic. And I'll need a lot of money to make it real, to make this
world real. It will be expensive. I have to find a way out. I have to find the
right way of doing this. If the right way of doing this is with American money,
then I have to do it with American money. If the right way is to do it with
European money, I have to get a lot of it. First I have to write the
screenplay. If you're the producer and also the director, it's really difficult
to free yourself by writing. You have to make a small village out of this. I
would like to do it with some American actors. It deals with the myth of America.
And the past, you know people coming from everywhere. My films are about homes
and losing homes and finding new homes. And America's really much of a place
where people left their homes and built up new homes. And this really attracted
me to new homes. "Soul Kitchen" is my reflection of American culture. I'm
really a kid of the 80s.
PK: You mean the content or the actual genre
of the movie?
FA: The genre. You know I discovered Italian
realism and neorealism not until college. Adam and me, we wrote the script
together, and it reflects what we like and we don't like. We had European
comedies in our mind, like these trash comedies and Italian comedies. And Philippe
de Broca. We had these Italian comedies of
the 70s and 80s in our minds. This is the cinema of our childhood. But the work
of Eddie Murphy in the 80s also has a deep impact on our childhood. The world
of Walter Hill in "The Warriors,"
subway thing, and that's a very smart way to portray a city, with a subway. And
Billy Wilder and his work, but he's more than just an American background
because he has a German background too. We also wanted to have visual humor,
not just screwball, and that's based on Chaplin.
PK: So is there going to be a Hollywood remake of "Soul Kitchen?"
FA: I don't know. If they make a good offer I
PK: Is there something in the works?
FA: We just sold it to China. They
want to do sort of a Hong Kong version of it.
I don't know if there's, I mean, people talk here a lot. But for me it has to
be very concrete.
PK: Do you have a cast in mind?
FA: For a remake? I wouldn't do that. I mean Michael
Haneke did that with "Funny Games."
PK: Who are some of your other influences?
FA: I adore filmmakers who are able to do
stuff that I'm not able to do. I like the work of Hou Hsao-hsien,
because he's really like a painter. I discovered him, and he really has an
effect on me. Also certain Turkish directors, they have a very different sense
of time, which makes me realize Turkish cinema is much more Asian than