• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest
MAR
11
2 YEARS

Michael Haneke Twitter Parody Creator Reveals Himself

The director of dark, serious fare was lampooned all winter long by a mysterious Twitter user.

Michael Haneke - Amour - P 2012

Meet the man behind the LOLs.

As Amour, Michael Haneke's bleak portrait of old age, began its ascent up the awards ladder this winter, the stern and reserved director seemed to have let out his wild side on the Internet. The account @Michael_Haneke began talking up his movie, teasing Terrence Malick, smack talking Ben Affleck and professing his love for skittles and his cat -- all in terrible broken English.

VIDEO: What If Michael Haneke Directed 'Star Wars'?

Alas, the tweets came from an impostor, but it was a parody account that still became a hit, with fans across Hollywood. Now, its creator, a British web editor named Benjamin Lee, has come forward to claim responsibility for the phenomenon. The account, retired after the Oscars, has 31,000 followers.

On the night Haneke won the best foreign language film Oscar, he tweeted, "yaaay i wins!!1! sory 2 the othr foreign nominees wotevr their calld agen lol #teamhaneke," which received over 1100 retweets.

"It was done out of total respect and admiration for Haneke and his films," Lee told the UK's Guardian newspaper. "I never meant to insult him in any way, and I think the popularity of the tweets proves it wasn't malicious. I love his films, but always wished he'd show a lighter side. It was out of this fanciful idea that the parody tweets were born, but I never expected them to catch on the way they have."

Haneke didn't seem to mind either way.

My students [at the Vienna Film Academy] said there was a weird Twitter account," Haneke, 70, told the LA Times in January. "But I'm not that interested in that kind of thing. It's not for me."