The ninth Eberhofer thriller "Rehragout-Rendezvous" has been in cinemas since Thursday (10 August). Private detective Rudi Birkenberger (Simon Schwarz, 52) plays a major role again as co-investigator for Niederkaltenkirchen village police officer Franz Eberhofer (Sebastian Bezzel, 52). Again, you can laugh heartily about their love-hate relationship and the ludicrous situations they maneuver each other into. And yet something was different this time: "I've actually never had a film in my life where I've come to my breaking point - mentally and physically," Schwarz recalls of the "creepy" shooting.
He will not forget "the scenes around the manure pit and the fall from the beam," said the Austrian actor in an interview with spot on news. Both were "actually quite challenging in terms of action". "The fall from the beam wasn't very high, because a high mat was set up on a pedestal. Nevertheless, balancing - even if I was secured - was not without it. Ten years ago I would probably have made it relatively easy, today I'm doing it with something heavier," he admits.
The manure pit shoot was even more extreme. "The shooting above the manure pit wasn't pleasant. The worst thing about those two days of shooting was the dangling from this huge crane over the pit. The crane wobbled and I was really tied up," says Simon Schwarz. Of course he had faith in the crew, but something else went off in his head: "We didn't have any rescue divers on site and the idea that I couldn't even have tried to swim in the manure pit because I was tied up was nice creepy." And he adds: "The smell was terrible too. And after the 'cut' it still took me a few minutes to get out of the predicament." But there was also a small ray of hope: "After all, we didn't film the immersion itself in the real manure pit, but that was incredibly uncomfortable," explains Schwarz.
Incidentally, it was also uncomfortable behind the scenes for Sebastian Bezzel, but for a completely different reason: “I will not forget that I had Corona during the shooting. That meant a very boring time for me in at least a nice hotel room. Luckily it has didn't hit me particularly badly and so there wasn't a huge gap in the shooting," he says.
While Bezzel was lying flat, the team shot, among other things, those scenes in which things went haywire at the Eberhofer farm after grandma (Enzi Fuchs, 86) went on strike. Washing, cleaning, cooking - nothing works anymore and the farm descends into chaos. Would Simon Schwarz be in a similar fix if, for example, his wife went on strike? "My answer is of course: I can do it all on my own, that's not an issue. I could also run a household with eight children … Your answer would probably be: He can't do anything. The truth probably lies somewhere in between," he replies busy film and television star and family man laughing.
For ten years now, the Eberhofer thrillers have enjoyed great popularity in the cinemas. And the film location, Frontenhausen in the Lower Bavarian district of Dingolfing-Landau, regularly attracts film fans. One place in particular appeals to film tourists, as Simon Schwarz also knows. "The roundabout in front of Frontenhausen, which was probably one of many before, has blossomed into a real tourist magnet. There is even a dedicated parking lot so that fans can take pictures," he says in an interview.
But that's not all. "As with Hollywood films and US series, there are now also tours in Frontenhausen where you can visit locations such as the butcher's shop or the cemetery. It must be said, however, that we also work a lot with backdrops that were specially created for this purpose so there are some things that cannot be seen in reality on site," says Schwarz. Nevertheless, Frontenhausen in Lower Bavaria has become a household name. "We started out as a local Bavarian crime thriller and cinema miracle. This has developed into a success story throughout the German-speaking world. I don't know whether Niederkaltenkirchen or Frontenhausen have become more prominent," he laughs.
With the new film "Rehragout-Rendezvous", the Eberhofer thriller makers at the roundabout are probably even going a step further in terms of tourist magnets, because interim mayor Susi (Lisa Maria Potthoff, 45) has something to add. "That could be the case. However, what is installed there in 'Rehragout-Rendezvous' - without wanting to reveal too much - is no longer at the roundabout. Maybe it will end up in the Bavaria film area, because it's already a sensation," orakels Simon Schwarz - and follows: "Franz Eberhofer and Rudi Birkenberger made of steel are always at the roundabout, which of course makes Sebastian and me very proud."
Since 2018, the location for car chases that recurs in every film and the same is officially called "Franz-Eberhofer-Kreisel". A statue of the two actors adorns the roundabout.
But the Eberhof thrillers didn't just develop into an East Bavarian tourist highlight. This also indirectly resulted in the documentary series "Grenzgänger" (BR), which Schwarz and Bezzel are doing together. "It's also very successful," says Schwarz, and tells details about the story of its origin: "We certainly also owe it to the success of the Eberhofer series, because without the joint cinema tour, Thorsten Berg, Lisa's husband, would not have had the idea of Sebastian and to film myself traveling through interesting regions and meeting unusual people."
And something else is in the works that could make fan hearts beat faster: "During the current cinema tour, we're trying to do a diary podcast for the first time, in which we'll report on the experiences of the day for 30 to 45 minutes. Let's see, whether it works," says Schwarz. And he promises: "A lot more could develop from the Eberhofer, we have many ideas..."