Interview with David Kross

published 19 February 2012
written by Kathy

The German actor David Kross, best known for his work in movies such as The Reader, “Krabat” or “War Horse” took his time to chat with us about his work on Petter Næss’ upcoming movie “Into The White”, in which he stars alongside Rupert Grint, Florian Lukas, Stig Henrik Hoff and Lachlan Nieboer. He told us the background story of his character Josef Schwartz, how he was looking forward to playing such an obsessed person and that he likes the fact that, even in the almost hopeless situations, there is still a fine sense of humor in the story. And of course he had only the nicest things to say about Rupert. Enjoy! What was the biggest difference for you of working on “Into The White” compared to your previous work?
David: I guess what was really extraordinary was the whole team staying in the same hotel all the time. We weren’t in a little village or something like that. It was just the hotel. Same people every day, without an outside world. You get a little bit of the “Shining”-feeling. (laughing) I’ve sometimes had some kind of a cabin fever, but it was a very sympatric crew, and that made everything a little easier.
The weather conditions were extreme. In the beginning it was really cold, with snow everywhere. Like the title says now: “Into The White”, it was like that. If you followed the blog, you could see that. Sometimes you didn’t see anything else, but snow.
David: Yes. (laughing) Like I said, it was extreme. But it still was ok. When we were working on “Krabat” for example, it was very cold, too, but we had to wear neckless clothes. For “Into The White” we had those immense snowsuits/flying suits, which kept you warm. The cold wasn’t that big a problem while shooting. We were told that you were even sweating…
David: Yeah. They were almost too warm. How did you like the costumes?
David: I liked them. They were very realistic. We saw pictures with the original suits and ours looked exactly the same. It was easy for us, because we had only two costumes. One for the interior, one for the exterior. Normally you have many costumes for different days. It seems like there are a lot of details. Your character for example wears an original ring…
David: Yes. Those details are the things that make it exciting. The dog tags of the soldiers, the uniforms, they did a lot of research. We had the chance to see pictures of the costumes and it was really impressive to see the detailed work.
David: It’s just that immense work in the background. Especially in preparation time, which is sometimes difficult for the audience to see. It wasn’t your first shoot with an international cast, but what made this one special? It was your first shoot in Scandinavia, right?
David: Yes. There were so many languages on set. There were Norwegians, Danish, Swedish… I had experienced something like that during my work on “Same, same but different”, which we shot in Cambodia, but you know. The team was so mixed and I really like that. Working with different nationalities, learning from each other and getting along well. Did you know one of your four „Comrades“ before?
David: No, I didn’t. I hadn’t even met Florian before. Of course I knew Rupert from the Harry Potter movies. But that was it. Nevertheless it was a very pleasant way of working, a good mix between us guys, with all those various characters. It fit. There was no one you couldn’t get along with, even though we are that different. How would you describe your character in the movie? We know some things already, but what is important for you? What should we know?
David: My role is named Josef Schwarz, a young soldier who grew up in an orphanage. He grew up with the ideology of Hitler and is some kind of a hardcore-Nazi. For me, that was the exciting part of the role. You’ll play someone who totally believes in his ideology and can’t see things happen around him. He lives it one hundred per cent and seems blind for everything else. After their crash, the soldiers find themselves in a very hard situation. Josef has this arm injury and his faith is the only thing that keeps his head up. Will we get the chance to see a little bit of his background in the movie?
David: I don’t think so. It was more like a background story for me. It’s difficult to say, because I haven’t seen the movie so far. Sometimes they change a lot while cutting it. But I think it was just to help me understanding why he clung so desperately to the Nazi-ideology. How did you get the role for “Into The white“?
David: It was a normal casting. Petter Næss came to Berlin and took a look at many young actors. I enjoyed the casting very much. Petter has a likeable way of working. A great sense of humour and I just thought that it would be a lot of fun to work with him. And he gave me the role, which made me very happy. Did you know who they had on their mind for the other roles at this point?
David: No, it was just at the beginning. They told me later. What excited you to do role? You said the Nazi-ideology was interesting. Anything else?
David: It was not exactly the Nazi-ideology, it was the role itself. Josef is a little extreme, which I haven’t played before. Journalists keep on asking me: “Isn’t it upsetting, to do the Nazi all the time?” But I don’t. For “The Reader”, I played a guy who has to deal with the consequences of the Nazi-regime, he wasn’t a Nazi. And in Steven Spielbergs “War Horse”, which takes place during the First World War, I play a good German guy. So I thought it would be exciting to play such an extreme character and I liked the story very much. You have these five characters from different nations, who are enemies but have to live with each other in order to survive. It is not a typical war-movie. It is a different way of storytelling and what excited me the most about the script was that there is a lot of humour in it. I hope it is still in the movie. It is that kind of humour that shows you how ridiculous the whole situation is. That those people can’t let go and refuse to work together. I liked that humour in the script and while I was preparing for the movie I watched Petter Næss movie “Elling” and thought that it is a really heart-warming and funny movie, too. So I was really looking forward to working with him. What was it like to watch Stig Henrik Hoff playing a German soldier? Could you help him?
David: He had a really tough challenge. He didn’t have much text, only a few lines. Florian and I tried to help him. Saying the lines, how they sound more German, but he did a really good job. It is funny, because his character is really quiet and Stig himself is the opposite. Very extroverted. So the British guys speak only English??
David: Yeah. My character speaks a little bit English. I had to speak with a hard German accent, almost overdone. We, as the German soldiers, spoke German among us, which I like about the movie. In most movies, everyone speaks English, for commercial reasons, but here everyone speaks in his own language. Did you understand Rupert with his Liverpool accent?
David: Err, not always, I have to admit. It was difficult to understand. Lots of times there were these moments when he spoke his line and then there was silence: “What did he say?” (laughing) But I guess it was difficult to understand, because he did such a great job. So extreme. Do you know if they will change that?
David: Maybe they will do an English subtitle for Rupert. (laughing) Have you seen the trailer?
David: Yes, I have. First impression?
David: Awesome. It is always strange to finally see a trailer, because it was so long ago and you just think: “Ah, yeah, I did that!” It is a funny feeling. I am really looking forward to watching the movie. It was such a great shoot, the cast and crew, I loved the story and it will be exciting to see how the movie will be. Can you tell us something about working with Rupert?
David: Rupert is a very professional and good actor. It was amazing to see, how he is just there the moment the camera switches on. He is in his role immediately, but also has a lot of fun between the scenes, laughs much. He doesn’t take things too seriously, but in front of the camera, bang, he is there. That was impressive. He has a great sense of humour, a likeable guy. A real professional, well he does the job now for a long time, but I think it is cool that he took part in this movie. I guess he is doing a good mix, not just doing the blockbusters, but also little productions. What’s up next for you?
David: There will be four or five movies coming out that I’ve made last year, and casting time will start for me again. One word to describe the whole Into-The-White-experience:
David: Extreme!

Thanks a lot David for taking your time. It was a pleasure 🙂

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