A replica of the submarine used in the film U-571, the only one of its kind ever to be built, is to be used again in the filming of a German mini-series for television. The filming of scenes with the submarine has already started in France, and will now continue in Malta.
This replica of the German U-boat is now back in Malta from France, and in the coming months will be used in the shooting of scenes for the mini-series “Das Boot”, a German production by Bavaria Films and Sky Deutschland. The scenes are expected to be shot outside Grand Harbour and at the Rinella Tank.
With a $28 million budget, the mini-series will continue where the 1981 film had left off, and tells the fictitious story of a U-boat crew, who from a submarine base at La Rochelle in France are trying to attack British convoys in the Atlantic.
This submarine has already appeared in five different films, best of which was U-571, produced in Malta 17 years ago. The work involved to lower the submarine from a ship is complex, as it weighs 233 tons and is 65 metres long.
This is essentially a working prop, a boat that can travel but cannot dive. It has four diesel engines, and can take a four-man crew.
The producer of the mini-series, Holger Reibiger, was quoted as saying that the mini-series has a cast of German, French and American artists who are considered as stars, but he went on to describe the submarine as the main star. This because it is built to scale, to the least detail.
Chris Cassar, Fleet Superintendent at Cassar Shiprepair, owners of the submarine, explained that they had been commissioned to build another replica to the same measurements, but which could be dismantled into six pieces. And even this will be used in the shooting of the Malta scenes.
Chris Cassar stated that “one will be portable and can be placed and used in the tank, in other facilities, where the producers want, and would be better for manoeuvering and transporting on roads. This is not something one can use in any way, so they will have an option to work even outside the water element.”
Apart from the Malta scenes at the beginning of the new year, the mini-series will also be filmed in France, the Czech Republic and Germany. The premiere is planned for the end of 2018.