German actor had to age into role with Winslet

When then-16-year-old David Kross initially auditioned for Stephen Daldry’s “The Reader,” his mother worried whether he would be able to graduate from school. “I had already missed four months of school to make my previous movie, ‘Krabat,’ and I wasn’t the best student, so I had to make a deal with her,” recalls the young German actor, who was himself worried about something else entirely: the nude scenes he’d have to shoot with star Kate Winslet.

“That was the first thing I thought of when I read the film’s script: ‘Oh my God, I have to do sex scenes.’”

Kross had ample time to prepare, however. He spent three months working with a dialect coach improving his English and spent both his 17th and 18th birthdays on set. Daldry waited until after Kross turned 18 to shoot the film’s steamier scenes.

“I was terrified, of course. I was really, really nervous to do those scenes,” Kross, now 19, admits. “But Stephen and Kate were very supportive, and it was all very choreographed and technical. It wasn’t like he just said, ‘Improvise, and I’ll turn the camera on.’”

As for his mother, Kross knows she saw his critically hailed performance, but he sheepishly adds, “I never want to see the film with my parents.”

Not that Kross says he has any complaints about the portrayal of his onscreen affair with his Oscar-winning co-star. “Kate’s very funny and smart and charming, and it’s not hard to fall in love with her.”

Impact: Held his own opposite Kate Winslet’s Oscar-winning performance in “The Reader” as her much-younger lover.

Next: Starring in the true story “Same Same but Different,” about a young German tourist who falls in love, “this time with someone my age,” he jokes.

Causes: Kross says he’s waiting to find a cause where it’s more than just writing a check.

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