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Las Vegas performers Siegfried & Roy are getting the biopic treatment.
The German magicians and entertainers, who were a Las Vegas institution before an onstage tiger attack brought a sudden end to their careers, have signed a deal for a film version of their extraordinary lives.
Philipp Stolzl, director of 2013 period drama The Physician, has signed on to helm the project for German studio UFA Fiction. Physician screenwriter Jan Berger will pen the script. UFA’s co-CEO Nico Hofmann will produce.
“The image of Siegfried and Roy floating down onto the stage in their fantastical outfits, landing amidst a pack of snow-white tigers, has been burned into my mind since I was a boy,” Stolzl said Monday in a statement. “It was truly out of this world. Being able to tell the story of Siegfried and Roy, covering all their successes, desires and dreams, is a wonderful gift that comes with a special set of challenges for me as a director.”
The magicians themselves, Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Uwe Horn, will act as executive producers via their S&R Enterprises shingle, together with Sebastian Werninger and S&R’s Jan Mewes. Pixomondo, the VFX firm which counts Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead among its credits, will handle visual effects on the project.
Siegfried and Roy’s high-camp style magic show, involving white lions and tigers, was incredibly successful. It is estimated that more than 25 million people saw their Las Vegas show at the Mirage Resort and Casino. But the duo came under attack from animal rights activists who disapproved of their use of live animals in their act.
The Las Vegas show ran from 1990 to 2003, when a white tiger called Mantecore attacked Roy during a live performance and hauled him offstage, causing serious injury. Roy was left partially paralyzed by the attack and, after a brief comeback in 2010, the pair retired from show business. The tiger was not put down and survived until its death of natural causes in 2014.
Siegfried and Roy’s act was the basis of NBC’s short-lived primetime animated series Father of the Pride, which was nearly canceled after the tiger attack on Roy.
Siegfried and Roy said they were “excited and very honored” that Hofmann, whom they described as “Germany’s most successful film producer,” would be adapting their life story for the screen.
Hofmann said it had long been a dream of his to work with the pair. “This isn’t just a story of two Germans who became world stars,” he said, “it is, above all, a story of diving into the world of magic. Siegfried and Roy’s life’s work is an almost unbelievable source of energy and creativity.”
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