A glimpse into Hauer's private life


UTRECHT, Netherlands -- Despite more than a hundred films to his credit, Rutger Hauer has remained an intensely private figure. But that's changing. The 62-year-old Dutch actor recently gave permission to be filmed during both his professional and private life. In her documentary "Blond, Blue Eyes," which had its world premiere last week at the Dutch Film Festival in Utrecht, director Simone de Vries was able to pin down the elusive star.

For two years, de Vries followed Hauer all over the world during shoots in Madrid and Romania, his visits to Hollywood, to his yacht near Santa Monica and to his beloved farm in Friesland, his homestead in the north of the Netherlands.

It took a lot of convincing for De Vries to obtain Hauer's approval. Only after she sent him her documentary on singer-novelist Kinky Friedman did the actor grant her access. "He wanted to check me out first, because Rutger is very suspicious about people who are interested in his private affairs. He needed to know if he could trust me," she says.

De Vries also got the opportunity to talk to Hauer's media-shy wife, Ineke ten Kate, his partner for more than 35 years. She talks frankly about their relationship, how the two met and how they are able to sustain their marriage.

On his acting, Hauer is refreshingly frank. "If I only do the films that I find interesting, I cannot exist as an actor," he says, referring to why he worked on so many straight-to-video titles like "Flying Virus," "Dracula III: Legacy" and "Turbulence 3." Five titles of his hundred-plus oeuvre he calls "decent," seven he describes as "good," and only three he says are "very good," including "The Legend of the Holy Drinker" (1988), directed by Ermanno Olmi, the film Hauer is obviously most proud of. "It is, like Olmi said, an action movie that takes place on my face!"

Hauer says "Soldier of Orange," the World War II drama directed by Paul Verhoeven, was his first real acting job. That film gave him the courage to head for Hollywood, where he was soon labeled: "Blond, blue eyes." Among the most striking moments in de Vries' docu are the meetings between the actor and the real Soldier of Orange, former resistance hero Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema, whom Hauer considers his second father, friend and mentor.

The Dutchman is also busy on other fronts. He is working on an autobiography in English and next year hopes to direct his first feature, "Changing Fortunes," about the Dutch banker Wally van Hall, who saved thousands of lives in the Netherlands during World War II with a financial scam. Hauer will also give an acting master class at the end of the year in Rotterdam.

Monique van de Ven, Hauer's former co-star in Verhoeven's "Turkish Delight," has an explanation for the change in the actor: "He has reached an age where he wants to pass on what he has learned over the years."