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Studios Fight To Tell Story of Submarine

Published: February 2, 2001 (Issue # 641)



  • Nikolai Zateyev, captain of K-19
    Photo: For The St. Petersburg Times

For 30 years, the crew of the K-19 Soviet nuclear submarine were forced to keep silent on the tragic accident that crippled their vessel and led to the deaths of eight of them.

Now, Hollywood wants finally to tell their tale. But two competing studios are fighting over who has the rights to reveal what happened in the North Atlantic on July 4, 1961.

In the middle of last month, a group of former K-19 crew members composed a statement objecting fiercely to a script proposed by Kathryn Bigelow, ex-wife of director James Cameron and the producer of blockbusters such as "Point Break" and "The Weight of Water."

Bigelow announced plans for her film, entitled "K-19: The Widowmaker," in September last year. The film's cast includes Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson.

However, Inna Gotman, a Russian-born American producer and president of Drawbridge Film company, is claiming she had been preparing to make a similar movie since 1994, when she first met the captain of the K-19, Nikolai Zateyev, and allegedly signed a deal with him for the exclusive rights to his personal story.

Lev Slavin, Gotman's co-producer in St. Petersburg, said in an interview on Thursday that Gotman first met representatives from Bigelow's Intermedia films International at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. Gotman, he said, was looking for financial backing from the wealthier Intermedia company, and hoped they might collaborate on the K-19 project.

However, such a deal was never struck. Instead, not long after the Kursk submarine disaster in August, Gotman heard about Bigelow's plans to pursue her own project, which she claimed to have thought of long before Gotman's approach.

Last December, Bigelow came to St. Petersburg with Ford and Neeson on a low-profile trip to meet the sub's crew and discuss details of the accident ahead of filming, which is due to start on Feb. 19, with film sites to include locations in Russia, Iceland, Canada and Norway. The visit was, by all accounts, a friendly one, crew and cast drinking together and toasting each other and the prospective film.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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