I’m Your Man press conference with Dan Stevens, Maria Schrader, Maren Eggert, Jan Schomburg and Lisa Blumenberg
A film festival isn’t the safest place to be during a global pandemic, so instead of cramming hundreds of foreign journalists into the ballroom at Berlin’s Grand Hyatt, the Berlin International Film Festival has gone digital. Director Maria Schrader and her team presented their film to the press just after its online screening for industry professionals.
Although the majority of the creative team video-conferenced from Berlin (all socially distanced on a podium), Dan Stevens joined from Los Angeles, where it was in fact 6am.
Ich bin dein Mensch is a tragicomedy set in contemporary Berlin, telling the story of Alma (Maren Eggert), an anthropology researcher in need of some crucial research funds. There is, of course, a catch: in order to receive this money, she must trial a robot companion for three weeks and report on his progress. Alma grudgingly agrees, and is introduced to Tom (Dan Stevens), whose programming is self-learning, with the ultimate goal of becoming Alma’s ideal life partner.
Much was made of the fact that Dan Stevens speaks flawlessly formal German throughout the film, although as the actor pointed out, he has done this before (in 2009’s Hilde). Stevens went on to say that he studied German in high school, which briefly continued while he was at university. He added that his German experiences were greatly aided by friends of the family who came from Bielefeld, and that the Stevens family enjoyed numerous childhood summer holidays in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Maria Schrader (whose work on Netflix’s Unorthodox won her the 2020 Primetime Emmy Award in Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special) talked about how she first encountered the short story (written by Emma Braslavsky) the film is based upon. The director said it sounded primarily like a love story, as opposed to being too hung up in science fiction, and this was very appealing to her.
Schrader also mentioned the difficulty of shooting during the pandemic, with all the unease that this added to what is always a complicated process at the best of times. Shooting was in fact disrupted by several false positive Covid-19 tests among the crew.
And in keeping with the virtual nature of the press conference, Schrader talked about how she actually cast Dan Stevens via Zoom. For the director, he was the only choice, with Schrader saying: “Dan Stevens was the best robot I could think of.”
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2021 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for I’m Your Man (Ich bin dein Mensch) here: