‘Star Wars’ Producer Kurtz Prepping ‘Panzer 88′

‘Star Wars’ Producer Kurtz Prepping ‘Panzer 88′

Gary Kurtz, producer on the first two Star Wars films, is preparing a winter shoot for Panzer 88, a “spooky wartime adventure” serving as the directorial debut of Hellboy writer Peter Briggs

Panzer 88 follows a five-man crew of the Isla, a King Tiger panzer and the biggest tank at the time (also a nod to Hellboy), as it treks towards the Russian border during WWII. But the Nazi team encounters a powerful, paranormal force. In an interview with the LA Times, Kurtz said, “You haven’t seen anything like it for a while.” Certainly not, especially a depiction of Nazi soldiers as heroes. However, Briggs insists there will be a clear distinction between Germans and Nazis, specifically an evil S.S. soldier the crew picks up along the way.

The $20 million production will focus on creating claustrophobic tension, like that of submarine story Das Boot, with the help of Peter Jackson’s WETA effects workshop. Essentially, it’s the same challenge they faced with the economic production of Neill Blomkamp’s District 9.

As for Kurtz, this is his first major, effects-heavy feature since the late ’80s after exiting the Star Wars series following Empire Strikes Back. He recently took a few well-aimed shots at George Lucas for his obsession with toys over quality storytelling.

Panzer 88 is a $20 million independent film that will shoot this winter. "It's a good, good project, you haven't seen anything like it for a while," Kurtz said. "It's a visceral, reality-based story with horror overtones, and the idea is to have be like the best of the graphic novels these days."
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