John Malkovich’s ‘The Yellow Tie’ Has Begun Filming in Romania

Image Credit: Diyah Pera/Netflix

The filming for John Malkovich’s ‘The Yellow Tie’ (‘Cravata galbenă’ in Romanian) started in Bucharest, Romania, earlier this month. It stars Malkovich in the role of Sergiu Celibidache, one of the most well-known classical music artists who became the youngest-ever conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Considered a genius and a madman, Celibidache was one of the most controversial music conductors in the world.

Born in Romania in 1912, Celibidache had to leave his home to pursue his dream of enjoying a career in the music industry. The film charts his journey from the beginning, when he fled the authority of his strict father and survived periods of homelessness, his problems exacerbated by the war in Germany. Eventually, Celibidache made a name for himself, and his tumultuous career spanned seven decades while dealing with personal issues that became a part of his legend. In between this, he had to battle prejudice and loss, trying to find a way to fit into the industry.

‘The Yellow Tie’ is an international co-production between Celi Films in the U.K and Oblique Media Film in Romania. As a result, its production has not been affected by the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. The cast and crew of the film were spotted in various places in Bucharest. A scene featuring Malkovich as Celibidache was filmed at the concert hall in Sala Palatului. Over 4000 people were on the scene as spectators while the crew filmed the concert Celibidache performed with the Munich Philharmonic in Philadelphia in 1989. Additional scenes were filmed in Cișmigiu Park and Muzeul Colecțiilor de Artă.

Expected to release sometime in 2024, ‘The Yellow Tie’ is based on the screenplay by Celibidache’s son, Serge Ioan Celebidachi, who co-wrote it with James Olivier. Celebidachi also directs the film, produced by Adela Vrinceanu Celebidachi, Cristina Dobritoiu, Andrei Boncea, Christopher Milburn, and James Olivier. Robert W. Cort is on board as the executive producer. The score for the film is composed by Kathryn Kluge and Kim Allen, with Peter Menzies Jr. and Vlad Vieru as cinematographer and production designer, respectively.

The role of Sergiu Celibidache is played by Academy Award-nominated John Malkovich and Ben Schnetzer. Malkovich will play Celibidache in his dusk years. Speaking about taking over the role, Malkovich said: “I am thrilled and honored to be given the opportunity to play the conductor Sergiu Celibidache. A unique and singular talent, he is considered one of the great classical music visionaries of the last century. Playing him in his later years will be a challenging and fascinating journey.”

Schnetzer, who will next be seen in Netflix’s ‘Three-Body Problem,’ will take the role of the younger Celibidache. Previously, Rupert Friend was tapped to play the younger version, but he had to step out of the role due to scheduling conflicts. The cast also includes Miranda Richardson (‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Good Omens’) as Ioana Celibidache and Sean Bean (‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Snowpiercer’) as Demostene Celibidache. Additional cast includes Anton Lesser (‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘1899’), Kate Phillips (‘Downton Abbey, ‘Peaky Blinders’), and Charlie Rowe (‘Rocketman,’ ‘Angelyne’).

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