Movie Stars: Schneider, Romy–Austrian-French Star Celebrated in Film, Theater and TV Decades after Death

Romy Schneider, the Austrian-born star famous for the popular Sissi trilogy of the 1950s playing the 19th-century Bavarian princess who became empress of Austria, is the subject of two biopics, a big-screen feature, and a TV production.

Jessica Schwarz will play Schneider in Torsten Fischer’s “Romy” for SWR, an affiliate of ARD. Produced by Berlin-based Phoenix-Film and penned by Benedikt Roeskau, who wrote last year’s ARD hit “Side Effects” about the thalidomide scandal of the early 1960s, the $7 million “Romy” is set to start shooting in the fall for a 2009 TV premiere.

But singer-actress Yvonne Catterfeld is playing Schneider in Warner’s “Eine Frau wie Romy” (“A Woman Like Romy”) helmed by Josef Rusnak. Raymond Danon, who produced Schnedier’s last film, 1982’s “Le Passante du Sans-Souci” (“The Passerby”), is producing the $36 million French-German co-pro with Douglas Welbat. Picture starts shooting in July for a 2009 release.

Schneider appeared in more than 60 films, including Orson Welles’ “The Trial,” Clive Donner’s “What’s New Pussycat” and Jacques Deray’s “The Swimming Pool,” co-starring former lover Alain Delon.

Schneider died in 1982, aged 43, a year after the accidental death of her 14-year-old son David.