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January, 2006 - Nr. 1


The Editor
Der Weihnachtsmann,
Paul Bernhard Berghorn
A Classic is Reborn
"Happy New Year"...
Herwig Wandschneider
Love for Vienna...
K-W & Beyond
An Austrian Event
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
'Between the Years'
Neuschwanstein in the Running
Klum touts Sauerkraut
King Kong's Kretschmann
Choirs Back in Style
Free Noon Hour Concert
Orchestra Toronto Event
German Films Honoured
Opera York Fundraiser
New Films in Washington
Goodbye to Beloved Hippo
Castle Belleview Re-opened

King Kong’s Kretschmann takes Hollywood one role at a time

  TWIG - Few German actors have had as much success but remained as low-profile as Thomas Kretschmann, who stars in director Peter Jackson’s blockbuster "King Kong." He’s the kind of guy who you look at, think you’ve seen before, and then thoroughly forget.

But you always remember the characters he plays: The Nazi officers in "Downfall" and "The Pianist," Dr. Frankenstein in the recent remake of the Shelley classic, and Pope John Paul II in the recent ABC mini-series about the pontiff.

Kretschmann is the kind of guy whose dashing good looks fail to hint at the drama of his past - as an East German who escaped the communist country to start a new life in the West. But to look at the cache of roles he has played and read his bio is to understand what he brings to each of them: A touch of madness and a knack for risk-taking.

At 19, he escaped to the West with just $100 in his pocket, and less one finger that he lost to frostbite on the way. At 25, after he quit training to become an Olympic swimmer, he had his first acting role in a production of Macbeth.

Not surprisingly, as a German actor making his mark on Hollywood, he has played his share of Nazi officers - in five separate films to date. But oh how he played them. In "Downfall," he was SS leader Hermann Fegelein, who marries Eva Braun’s sister and slimes his way to the top echelons of the Nazi party.

Starring opposite Adrian Brody in "The Pianist," Kretschmann played the "good Nazi," the one who discovers the Jewish pianist hiding in an abandoned building and says nothing, thus saving his life.

But however varied those Nazi roles were, Kretschmann likes to bookend those types of historical films with lighthearted fare such as "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" and "Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2."

You can see Thomas Kretschman playing Captain Englehorn in "King Kong" and, later this year, playing Wil in "The Celestine Prophecy," an adaptation of the novel by James Redfield.
Republished with permission from "The Week in Germany"


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