Thomas Schühly


Thomas Schühly is an international film producer. He was born in Karlsruhe on September 20th, 1951. He graduated in 1972 achieving the “Abitur,” the German university-entrance diploma. Subsequently, he went to the University of Bochum where he studied law for eight terms until 1976. He additionally earned money as a karate instructor before the famous theatre director Peter Zadeck needed a choreographer for one of his plays and convinced Schühly to work with him. During his time working on the set with Zadeck, Schühly realized that his ambitions had changed and he no longer wanted to become a lawyer. The world of the theatre fascinated him too much and he knew that this was the road he wanted to follow. At the “Bochumer Schauspielhaus” he met his longtime companion, Rosel Zech, who years later would play in his and Fassbinder’s “Veronika Voss.” Schühly worked as assistant director with Zadeck and Jiri Menzel until he moved to the Bavaria Filmstudios in Munich to work with Germany’s most acclaimed and famous director, Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Fassbinder and Schühly immediately got along perfectly and formed a strong bond over the years. Schühly was instantly impressed by Fassbinder’s way of life and attitude. He would work initially as Fassbinder’s assistant director but would soon become his production manager on the TV series “Berlin Alexanderplatz.”

Together with Fassbinder he produced “Lola” (1981), “Theater in Trance” and “Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss” (1982). It was “Veronica Voss” which won him the “Golden Bear” at the Berlin Film Festival. After Fassbinder’s tragic death Schühly was devastated and no longer wanted to work in the movie business. A friend of Schühly’s, tycoon producer Horst Wendlandt, persuaded Schühly to work with him on the Jean-Paul Belmondo movie “Ass der Asse” (1982) as executive producer. With this movie Schühly produced his first international success: 6 million entrances in Germany, 7 million entrances in France, and so on.
In 1983 another success and another corporate experience was waiting for Schühly.
Dr. Leo Kirch offered him a job in his company. Schühly became managing director of Kirch’s IDUNA Film. In his 3 years with Dr. Kirch Schühly produced, among others, the international TV – series “Via Mala“ starring Mario Adorf , Maruschka Detmers, and others.

In late 1985 Schühly decided to leave the Kirch company and return to independent producing.

“Out of Order” (aka, “Abwärts“) by Carl Schenkel became his next film. With Götz George and Wolfgang Kieling he produced a smashing success. This film became an artistic success (winning the Gold in German Film award) as well as a box office hit.

In the meantime Neue Constantin, Germany’s top film production and distribution company cast an eye at Schühly. Bernd Eichinger offered him a joint partnership in running Neue Constantin Produktion. From these years it was above all “The Name of the Rose” starring Sean Connery and Christian Slater that stood out. This film was the result of Schühly’s multi-lingual gift. With his talent he constructed a German – French – Italian production with Germany as the lead. The film became a worldwide success.

In 1988 it was time for a new adventure.

In Rome Schühly met the US director Terry Gilliam.  Together they planned to produce the movie “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.”

Starring John Neville, Valentina Cortese, Robin Williams, Uma Thurman and Sting, the film was nominated for 4 Academy Awards.

1989 was the year of the “French Revolution” for Schühly. With directors Robert Enrico and Robert Heffron, Schühly coproduced this two-parter. In the cast were Klaus – Maria Brandauer, Jane Seymour, Sam Neill, Peter Ustinov and Claudia Cardinale.

In 1995 followed the film “Der Totmacher.” This film was highly acclaimed by the International press. It won the German Film Award in Gold and the Cup Volpi at the Venice Film Festival. Romuald Karmakar directed and Götz George starred.

After the year 1996 Schühly took a time-out of movie making . Together with the US Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen he developed the novel  “ Dragon Fire “ . It became a bestseller all over the world .

The 2001 film “Triumph of Love” led to a collaboration with Bernardo Bertolucci. Together they produced this dramatization of a play by Pierre Marivaux starring Mira Sorvino and Ben Kingsley.

2004 was the year of “Alexander.” With Oliver Stone directing he produced this epic tale. The film starred Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Anthony Hopkins and Rosario Dawson.