The world of Mozart is coming to life with The Magic Flute. Inspired by the opera of the same name, the film revolves around aspiring music student Tim as he uncovers a mystical gateway in his prestigious boarding school that transports him into The Magic Flute, setting him on a magical adventure.
Jack Wolfe leads the ensemble cast of The Magic Flute alongside F. Murray Abraham, Iwan Rheon, Stéfi Celma, Niamh McCormack, Asha Banks, Stefan Konarske, and Amir Wilson. Also featuring celebrated opera stars Sabine Devieilhe, Rolando Villazón, and Morris Robinson, the film is an artful blend of Mozart’s grand opera and a coming-of-age drama.
Ahead of the film’s release, Screen Rant spoke exclusively with star Jack Wolfe to discuss The Magic Flute, making his transition from stage to screen acting, developing a brother-like relationship with co-star Iwan Rheon and Shadow and Bone season 2.
Jack Wolfe On The Magic Flute & Shadow and Bone Season 2
Screen Rant: I’m very excited to talk about The Magic Flute, I was not familiar with the opera ahead of time, but found the story very fascinating. You are no stranger to the world of the stage, but what about the film really sparked your interest?
Jack Wolfe: Oh, thank you for saying that. It’s lovely that you had that experience with it, that’s exactly what I would like from the film is to sort of invite people in to that world, especially if it’s one that they’re not familiar with. It’s part of the reason why I wanted to get involved, as actors, you sort of start out, you have such little control over the projects that come your way, but there was something about this that I was really, really interested in.
When I met Florian Sigl, the director, and the producers, it was their passion about what they wanted to make and this cool idea about introducing this to more people that made me really inspired and wanting to sort of get on board with that.
Were you familiar with the opera already, or was this new to you as well?
Jack Wolfe: It was very new for me, I was familiar with it in that my mom teaches piano and teaches singing, so I knew of the opera, and I remember there were posters on the wall of her favorite productions of it, which was quite scary, actually, some of the imagery was [extreme], like the Queen of the Night, it was quite intimidating.
I had a fair amount of knowledge about it, but to be honest, the genre of the opera world I found quite intimidating, I think I was a little bit scared of it, I didn’t know if I was clever enough, or if I was allowed in. It felt like there were lots of doors in the way, or that I just wouldn’t be interested, and part of this whole journey has been completely upending that and it’s completely fascinated me. So yeah, I really love this story now, and I really love everyone’s different interpretations of what this sort of magical world could look like, I think it’s really, really cool.
I love that you got to have that experience, especially given that this is your feature film debut as an actor. It’s interesting that it instills this theatrical-type production after your work on stage. Did that make the transition from stage to film easier for you?
Jack Wolfe: Yeah, that’s so interesting, I think it probably did. There’s an amazing thing on on a film set like that, where it’s so high fantasy. We were shooting in the Bavaria Film Studios, which was so amazing, even the drive to the studio was cool, because it was constantly snowing, and we were shooting there. But then in the studio, we came down from dressing rooms onto the soundstage, so it was almost like they just built this set for this production of The Magic Flute when we were shooting, the sort of fantasy worlds, the magic world scenes, which we shot first.
It did feel like a theater set, and when I was walking up and down the corridors in the morning, nervously pacing, ready to start my day, you’d hear Sabine Devieilhe practicing her Arias, or Morris Robinson practicing his arias, and these are the real deal opera singers. It felt like I was backstage at a theater a lot of times, so yeah, it did really help. I think it wasn’t just my feature debut, I think it was the feast debuts of lots of different actors from lots of different genres of the arts as well. I think shooting during the aftermath of of COVID for so many productions was so difficult, as we know, and we’re now seeing all of that labor come on to screen now, we’re now seeing the films that were shot in that time, and the sort of limitations that brought with them.
A silver lining we had for our production is that because there was no live theater, there were Sabine and Morris from the Met or from Paris were free, and recording artists we have in the film, and actors who’ve done mostly theater work, or mostly film, all got to collaborate together on this film, which ultimately is an homage to a live form. So, that sort of isn’t lost on me, I think that’s a really cool thing that I love about our film.
Even with the COVID production, the scale of this film feels quite grand. Was there any one set that you loved to be on in particular during filming?
Jack Wolfe: Oh my gosh, it was all amazing. At the beginning of shooting, as well, we were shooting in these market scenes that were built on the soundstage in Munich, and they were just amazing. The work that goes in from all of those departments is so mind blowing. But I think, especially at the beginning of the shoot, I was so just intimidated by the vastness of the job. [Laughs] I feel like I was starting and far too, I think, self conscious to think about that.
As the shoot went on, and I was beginning to gain a little bit more confidence, I was able to sort of look outwardly and really respond to that. I think the school sequences shooting in Salzburg was just crazy, the detail in that building, because we shot in his Hotel Schloss, I think it’s called, by this huge lake, and shared a lot of sets with The Sound of Music, which is really cool. But inside, it isn’t a school, but it’s the detail the art department put into making this thing feel like a functioning school and the classrooms and the paper and the chairs and the pens and everything, that was really, really cool to me, I think that’s my favorite.
The chemistry that you have with Iwan Rheon was great. What was it like developing that with him off-camera as well as during production?
Jack Wolfe: It was super special. Iwan taught me so many amazing things and, he won’t mind me saying that I was a quite a big fan of his. When I was about 13 years old, I was obsessed with this musical called Spring Awakening, which made its way over to London, and I think, if I’m right, was Iwan’s stage debut at the time, and I took the train with my older brother from Yorkshire down to London to see it. I probably was a bit too young to watch that show, but I just loved the music so much.
I’d known him since then, his work since then, and then and then into Misfits and so on. So, when I found out he was joining the film, I was so so excited, and I’m never afraid to tell someone when I’m a fan of what they’ve done, so I told him. But ultimately, he really was like a big brother to me, he has so much experience, and I had such limited experience, and he was always so ready to share things with me, tips or tricks or just what things meant, or how to navigate certain parts of a really busy set. I’m super grateful for the time we had, so that friend chemistry, or that bond, is super reall.
Speaking of busy sets, he obviously has experience with another high-fantasy title: Game of Thrones. You yourself are now breaking into high fantasy television, you were just on The Witcher and now you’re coming up in Shadow and Bone. Did you talk about his Game of Thrones experience and try to gain insight into how to bring it into these other shows?
Jack Wolfe: Yeah, I guess so. There was so much VFX green screen work and running away from giant snakes and just trust that goes into, “How big is this? How big are his teeth? How warm is it?” All that kind of stuff, which Iwan was luckily with me for all of that, and I was always able to get extra advice to what I was already getting. So, I found out about Shadow and Bone later, because it feels like we shot this film so long ago now, Shadow and Bone feels still very imminent, it feels so present, like it feels like we shot that a year ago nearly, but it’s been such a huge part of my life now. So yeah, I’m really excited to see what it all looks like.
What can you tell me about your role in this coming season? I know details are generally under lock and key, but what kind of insight can you give me for this coming season?
Jack Wolfe: Yeah, I can see the Netflix sirens beginning to prevent spoilers. [Laughs] I play a character called Wylan Hendriks who joins a group of criminals and thieves called The Crows on a mission. Fans of the book will know him really well, he appears in two of the books of the Grishaverse series called Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom.
But obviously, this show adaptation of the book sort of weaves storylines together a little bit, so he gets to interact with a bit more of the other world that he doesn’t appear in, which is super exciting, too. So there’s lots of surprises for people who already know about Wylan, and for people who don’t, he’s hopefully pretty cool too, he’s a bit of a nervous explosives expert.
About The Magic Flute
From Executive Producer Roland Emmerich (Moonfall) comes a captivating film that follows a teen on two journeys: one into a prestigious boarding school to fulfill his aspirations as a singer, and another into a parallel world filled with fantasy and adventure.
Tim (Jack Wolfe, Shadow And Bone) has been dreaming his whole life about attending Mozart All Boys Music School, but already his first days there confront him with a hostile headmaster (F. Murray Abraham, The White Lotus), the stresses of a first love, and serious doubts about the authenticity of his singing voice. When he discovers a mystical gateway in the school’s library, he is pulled into the fantastic cosmos of Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute, where imagination has no limits and the Queen of the Night (Sabine Devieilhe) reigns.
The Magic Flute is now available on digital platforms and VOD.
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