TV

Daniel Brühl: "We Germans are quite creepy"

Hollywood's new avenger Daniel Brühl on the Nazi's theft of the Mona Lisa and the injustice of the Meredith Kercher case


Your next few films all tackle fascinating subjects. Out now is The Face of an Angel, based on the Meredith Kercher murder case. Were you already familiar with the trial?


Like most of other people I knew about it but in a superficial way, checking headlines and being attracted by the media hype. I always hated myself a little bit, why am I so attracted by this case?

Through making the film did you work out why that was?


It has all the ingredients. And seeing the pictures of this girl [Amanda Knox], either looking very pretty or very mean. You think, is this pretty girl able to commit such a crime? Love stories and sexuality aren’t really shocking anymore. The last big mystery is death and we have that creepy, gossipy interest in it and murder cases.

I know it’s like that in UK, but also in Germany?


We Germans are quite creepy as well. And to think a murder case will probably never be solved just because the Italian legal system fucked up…

Next is Woman in Gold with Helen Mirren art stolen by Nazis, specifically one of Klimt’s most famous paintings.


Being German I was very interested in that case. Recently there have been a lot of cases where they have found governments and museums keep hiding information about the art.

The Klimt painting eventually sold for $135m – but the case is not about money, it represents something more than that…


Yeah, it was interesting because it shows the value of art – not just the economical value – but the importance a painting can have for a whole nation. It is Austria’s Mona Lisa and such a big part of their identity. That’s why the Austrians were so eager in keeping it, ignoring the simple fact it was pure injustice.

I remember your first international hit Good Bye, Lenin! started a trend for retro Soviet-era design. Is that still popular in parts of Germany?

If you see some old scooters they look pretty cool but they also constructed and designed very terrible things. Berlin is fascinating because of what it has gone through. You can see the contrast in architecture, you can still live and breathe the history.

You played Niki Lauda in Rush. Was he impressed by the person chosen for the role?


He was very blunt. He would have told me right away if he hated me. Some actors don’t want to meet the people they are playing but for me it was crucial because I couldn’t fully understand what was going on in his head, there were questions I had about overcoming fear.

What did you learn about that?


Well, to be honest I still don’t get it. After his terrible accident he was doing some laps before his comeback race and realised he was having a panic attack. He was shivering, he couldn’t change gears so he stopped the car, went back to his room, closed the curtains, lay down and analysed his fear for 20 minutes. Then he was fine. He raced and I think he came fourth.

I’ll try that next time.

A life lesson he definitely taught me is not give too much importance to what other people think of you. That’s something I always did and I’m trying to do less and less. He taught me to be as honest and blunt as you can.

You’ve been cast as the villain in Captain America: Civil War, so come on, be honest and blunt and tell me all the secrets about that.


Nice try but I’m too scared of being sent to Marvel prison. I can’t tell you much except…I’m really looking forward to it!

The Face of an Angel is out now in cinemas. Woman in Gold is out April 10

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