Saturday, 19 February 2011

Who best to play Bessler?

It has been remarked on more than one occasion that the story of Johann Bessler's life would make an excellent movie. It has already been made into an opera although I have not seen it, and it seems to me that a movie about the inventor would have all the ingredients needed to make a worldwide box office success.

There is lust, greed, jealousy, theft, hatred, love, a hunt for treasure, black magic, murder, corruption in high places and conspiracy - all set against the background of one man's struggle for recognition and a prize worth millions of dollars in today's money - not to mention a solution to today's energy and pollution problems. Need I say more?

And who is to play this tenacious, conceited, highly ingenious, emotional and troubled man? This is something I have pondered on at length for several years. For most of that time I wanted a British actor to play him, because I think they are the best actors, generally speaking. It requires someone who can express ingenuity, determination, obsession, triumph, paranoia and suspicion and blind fury - and yet call for the tenderest outpouring of love on occasion and be motivated by an overwhelming commitment to his religious belief.

That was until the other day when I saw Robert Downey Jr. and recognised his outstanding talent. He seems to have the look of Bessler sometimes. I now have him as my favourite for the part, unless someone else betters him in that unique role. - and someone probably will.



  1. Yes John thats a great idea,..The time is right.You really should explore the possibilities.
    Maybe the the people who produced the movie IQ,even the actor who played Einstein.
    Especially now we're on the verge of discovering the secret.Then follow on with a sequel where the wheel actually turns, vindicating the pro's and the shaming the critics.
    How cool is that!

  2. Someone must build a working model, and than perhaps making a movie. If you make movie now, about Bessler, and without proof that his device was genuine,it would be like watching any other movies about magicians,con man etc.So far he is graded a fraudster by the establishment.

  3. On the otherhand if you make it now it will still have the charm of the mystery that has challenged people over 300 years.
    The sequel will answer that question with a working wheel because there is no doubt it will happen.
    Or is there a doubt your mind?

  4. Vincent is right...working model should be first....a movie is usually made after a successful the moment, the world won't believe...for instance, we can very well notice right here on this blog how much argument goes on even after so many clues are out...a television documentary would be appropriate....

  5. Okay,okay,.. I give up,have it your way,but I think it's for John to have the last word.

  6. I had assumed that the film would be made after a working model had been made and exhibited and validated.

    I understand both Trevor's and Vincent's viewpoint and maybe both can be accomodated. These things take time to arrange and the screenplay would have to be written first before anything else. That is something that I could begin work on now, not myself, of course, but if I could find a keen, gifted amateur...what a breakthrough for him if his work was accepted! So first we get a screenplay written and take it from there.

    I do know somone here in the UK who does know something about this subject - hopefully he will read this and get in touch?


  7. John,go for gold,step out in faith and approach Stephen Spielberg and the like. The very prestige would promote the wheel's status.
    If I reach a point where I can say the wheel is turning,but not publically,would you have the courage to do this.

  8. An opera? I'd like to know how they turned their wheel. Electricity, probably.

    A movie would be fantastic, we all agree on that. Robert Downey played Sherlock Holmes, one of my favorite characters, in '09, so he's performed odd characters in period pieces. However, since we're considering talent that isn't British, one of my favorite actors who can play characters such as Bessler is Johnny Depp. He has a long list of credits for movies with eccentric personalities. Here is his bio:

    His breakout role was Edward Scissorhands in 1990 - that was a strange one - he played the pathos of the character beautifully. Other odd roles were Ed Wood, Ichabod Crane, Willie Wonka, The Mad Hatter, Jack Sparrow of course, etc. Bessler is a character he was born to play, trust me, John.
    As for a working model, I don't think that would be necessary for the success of the movie. Special effects can create the illusion. A documentary would be okay, but without a wheel it would have even more disbelief associated with it because documentaries are usually filmed as fact-based stories. I think a movie, where it could be filmed as a fantasy would be better. I know it would be even better if there was a genuine wheel but, respectfully Trevor, I don't think we're on the verge of the secret unless we're willing to alter our designs.


  9. I agree, Doug, I also consider Johnny Depp as a good possibility and he has the look too.


  10. I can put my head on a block that we're on the verge trust me. You guys all talk as though its years away.I think 299 years has been enough time!

  11. Doug is alteration is badly required...Trevor...we have been hearing about your completion since 10 months or so...this is a long time...and the descriptions of your wheel design by you is not promising enough... bessler's design is much more simple than what you have been defining so far...and once it occurs in mind it is not very difficult to realize the have been grappling...

  12. Suresh, what about your progress? Do you have anything that works? Your comments lead everyone to think so. Glass houses and all that.
    Trevor, what about you? What does your design do? Not your secret, how much work can it do?

  13. Thanks Doug,you saved me the trouble. Actually my design is a matter of days away.
    The principle is so simple it's as easy as 'falling' of a log.Do you get it!?
    The actual mechanics is intricate,thats why it takes a little time.

  14. I saved you the trouble? What trouble did I save you from? Days away, really? Easy, but intricate? I'm calling your bluff.

  15. You're on! and don't forget what you said my friend.

  16. So we'll be expecting to hear about it how? A you tube video?
    You still haven't said it can do anything.
    One complete turn? Two, even?
    What did I say? I'm calling your bluff?
    Don't worry, I won't forget. You keep reminding us.

  17. I am planning to build a model far everything has been a mental work only...the design is very simple...just eight lever-weight mechanism have to be made...all similar and fixed at equal distances on the circumference.. this is the main of it is just structural support but requires proper shaping...

  18. I have alway pictured Gary Oldman as the perfect actor..

  19. That's wonderful, Suresh...what do you need help with...materials...only eight lever-weight mechanisms, huh...5 dual lever-weight mechanisms was the proper design...eight is not what Bessler kept emphasizing...

  20. Now I realise what troubled Bessler.His success made his peers sick with professional jealousy.

  21. Yes! Gary Oldman could do it too. This is excellent, any more suggestions? I think I might compile a list! Be warned - I'll say if I don't agree but I guess it depends on how good the screenplay is. The best writing will attract the best actors.


  22. Klaus Kinski? He's even German.
    Rutger Hauer.
    Woody Allen. No, just kidding.
    Liam Neeson?
    Oldham was great in Dracula.

    What we should really try to figure out is who would be best to draft a screen play with you. What movies are there that have been in a similar vein as Bessler's biography?
    18th century-ish movies about quirky Europeans.
    Not many to pick from probably

  23. I think maybe John Malkovich is too old and for me he doesn't have the right look. Rutger Hauer, is probably too old too. Lian Neeson? Good actor but I don't see him in that role. Klaus Kinski's too old - and he's dead.

    You're right about getting the right screen play D. Following on from that suggestion I thought of the 'Amadeus' film about Mozart, who lived in Bessler's time and I see the writer was Peter Shaffer. At 85 he's probably too old but the idea is a good one and I'll try to find a few more film writers.


  24. How about Kevin Spacey?

    Depending on the nature of the script, there may need to be a younger and older Bessler. The script I've been writing (on and off) has this aspect to it, albeit older Bessler has the majority of the screen time.

  25. John, the D comment was me. My computer gave a choice and I didn't notice. Anyway, I was poking around online and there is a screenwriting software program at if you'd like to try your own hand at a draft. You may not have any experience at writing screenplays, but you are a talented writer, and the software has some helpful tools for beginners. It's a free trial, there are probably more perks if you get the paid version.

    Sofia Coppola wrote and directed Marie Antoinette, but I guess compared to Orffyreus (is that what you're thinking of as a working title?) Marie is a more popular tragic figure. But Sofia has connections in the business if you want to shoot for the stars and hit the moon.
    I imagine a movie such as this, because of the obscurity of the subject, might be seen as only being successful in art house type theaters. But you never know - if Depp, or somebody with box office draw like his, was interested it could be big.



  26. Do you realise John,you could make quite a bit of money out of this with the film rights negotiation.
    The when the wheel turns there could be a sequel.

  27. Yup, Kevin Spacey is a brilliant actor and I think he could do the older Bessler - good idea, Ed.

    Thanks for the suggestion, Doug. I've bookmarked it and I'll take a look at it tomorrow.

    Now the title, hhmmm - I guess its got to catch people's attention and I was thinking along the lines of 'The Orffyreus Code'. Codes seem to be the in thing at the moment.

    Nice thought Trevor, and I'll take anything that's going but lets see how it goes.


  28. I always enjoy watching Amadeus.
    The scenery, screenplay, writing & directing would be perfect for this. Mozart was born in 1756 in Germany.
    Peter Shaffer is listed as the writer/screenplay for Amadeus.

  29. Thats great ,.."The Wheel". would get people thinking,what do they mean? Then they would come and find out.
    John do'nt think small, think big.If you could get one famous actor or producer to endorse or show an interest in the story,then others would sit up and take notice.
    Then pretty soon they would be competing for the contract. Thats how you get the highest price.

  30. It's occured to me John that if they make a movie about Bessler, if it's factual he will have to take the secret to the grave.
    That is why I suggested a sequel revealing the redicovery of the working wheel.

  31. There is something weird about number 13….one plus three is 4..And, the numbers 4 as well as 8 are actually not so lucky in terms of numerology….these numbers occur in bessler’s life too often and it is worth taking a look at them…

    The value of the initials J.E.E.B (for Johann Ernst Elias Bessler) is 13.
    Bessler used a ROT13 encryption to change his name to Orfyyre.
    Bessler arranged his name in a circle and selected the 13th alphabet to arrive at Orffyre.
    Johann’s value is 26 which is a 8.
    Ernst value is 22 which is a 4.
    The name BESSLER’s alphabetical value is 26 which is also a 8.
    About 8 sounds were heard hitting the side of the wheel.
    About 8 weights are believed to have been employed by bessler.
    It was said that about one pound falling made four pounds rise four times high.
    The weight of a weight in bessler wheel was estimated at 4 pounds.
    The bi-directional wheel made 26 rpm….it is 8 again.
    There were four major publications by bessler..AP, DT, GB and MT.
    The size of his first wheel was 4 feet.(diameter).
    Four different wheels were publicly exhibited.
    Bessler’s second wheel is unveiled in the year 1714 which totals to 13 and then is singled out to 4.
    Gartner,bolrach and wagner intensify their campaign against bessler in this year.
    And bessler destroys his wheel and moves to merseberg the same year.
    On 26th Apr 1714 Teuber wrote to Liebniz. 26th is nothing but a 8.
    On 14th Apr 1714 Leibniz wrote to Teuber showing interest in the power of the wheel. And when all the numbers in this date is added and singled it becomes a 4.
    Examination of the third wheel at Merseberg happened on 31st Oct.1715. 31 equals to a 4.
    On 26th Nov 1717 the room was opened and the wheel was still found to be running. 26 is 8.
    And again on 4th jan 1718 the wheel was apparently running at the same speed. Again it is Number 4.
    On 13th oct 1717 the wheel was moved to a larger room in the castle. 13th or 4 again.
    On Nov 26th 1717 the investigators verified the seals of the room..26th is eight and also the entire date singles to 8.
    On 20th jan 1720 Christian Wolf describes the event in a letter to Laurentus Blumentrost. This date also singles to 4.
    On 17th Aug 1721 bessler destroys his wheel in a fit of anger at Weissenstein castle. 17th is nothing but 8.
    In 1745 bessler is commissioned to design and erect a windmill in Furstenburg. 1745 singles out to 8.
    Bessler fell from the windmill after completing four floors of it.
    Karl dies at the age 76 which works out to 13 and then to 4.
    Bessler dies on 30th Nov 1745….and this date works out to be a 4….
    Bessler’s widow offers his possessions to the state in the same year 1745 which is a 4.

  32. I think you are grappling Suresh.The wheel was not built on superstition and the magic of numbers.
    It was built using sound engineering logic and mechanical physics.


  34. Don't worry Suresh,..I am also grappling.Not with the fact that the wheel will not work but with the efficiency of the mechanics wich has to be virtually friction free.

  35. Frankly really need not be so much friction free..the levers have to be spaced properly and the measurements have to be very precise....the machine will still have enough power to run other machines...

  36. Yes,I agree. It was not the friction encountered by the whole wheel,it was the friction of the fast moving pendulums that was problematic. They have to be free in order to build up a swing.
    I think I have now solved it now so lets see how we go from here.

  37. Trevor, where is your promised wheel ?

    John, title might be "Time of Giant´s"

  38. John, I noticed that in Bessler drawings of wheel There is number 3 3 3 3 in axel, in thumpers 6 6 6 6

  39. Anon,..My wheel is still on track,still very optimistic.I've had some minor engineering hold ups but I think they are sorted out now.
    How is your progress.I never hear anything from you guys.Maybe you're too busy working trying to earn a living.

  40. I hadn't heard of him but I recognise some of his films. I'll haver to see him again to form an opinion. Thanks Doc.


  41. I think Mel Gibson would be a good choice.

  42. I watched Castaway last night. Tom Hanks looks a lot like Bessler.

  43. Bill Mothershead11 March 2011 at 22:36

    I always pictured Bessler as being a very dignified, serious, older man.

    All the actors here that have either done
    comedy or action-adventure movies just don't
    seem to fit.

    I am a fan of the US TV series "Fringe".

    In particular, I suggest John Nobel


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