‘Reader’ puts young thesp on the global map

David Kross’ selection to rep Germany in this year’s Shooting Star program comes a tad late. The young thesp’s star has been skyrocketing since Detlev Buck cast him in Buck’s gritty 2006 Berlinale screener “Tough Enough.”

Since then, Kross has gone on to topline Marco Kreuzpaintner’s hit fantasy-adventure “Krabat”; romance Kate Winslet in Stephen Daldry’s “The Reader,” which is screening in competition in Berlin; and just wrapped work on Buck’s upcoming “Same Same But Different,” a love story set in Cambodia.

The 18-year-old is also set to star in Slovak-born helmer Georg Juraj Herz’s World War II drama “Habermann’s Mill” this spring for Karel Dirka’s Munich-based Art-Oko Film.


From terrorist to the ‘Pope’

One of Germany’s busiest and most critically acclaimed actresses, Johanna Wokalek next toplines Soenke Wortmann’s drama “Pope Joan,” an adaptation of Donna W. Cross’ bestseller.

Wokalek’s performance as Gudrun Ensslin in Uli Edel’s terrorist drama “The Baader Meinhof Complex” just landed her on the shortlist for this year’s best actress Lola, the German Film Award.

The 33-year-old thesp debuted in Max Faerberboeck’s 1998 Silver Bear winner “Aimee & Jaguar,” followed by starring roles in a dozen feature films and TV productions, including Hans Steinbichler’s troubling family drama “Hierankl,” Til Schweiger’s hit romantic comedy “Barefoot” and Philipp Stoelzl’s mountain-climbing drama “North Face.”


Sweet smell of success

Her role as the redheaded beauty whose scent drives a troubled young man batty with murderous desire in Tom Tykwer’s 2006 period thriller “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” catapulted Karoline Herfurth to fame.

Up until then she was known mainly for her role in Constantin Film’s teen comedy franchise “Maedchen Maedchen,” which followed her debut in Hans-Christian Schmid’s 2000 coming-of-age drama “Crazy.”

Since “Perfume,” she has appeared in seven feature films and TV productions, including Marc Rothemund’s 1960s-set laffer “Pornorama,” Stephen Daldry’s “The Reader” and Caroline Link’s “A Year Ago in Winter,” for which she also made the Lola shortlist for best actress.

Next up she stars in Kaspar Heidelbach’s “Berlin 1936,” about Jewish-German high-jump champion Gretel Bergmann.


Open range for versatile actor

From his heartfelt portrayal of a sensitive, poetry-loving boy who doesn’t fit in at an elite Nazi school in Dennis Gansel’s 2005 hit “Before the Fall” to playing the future Fuehrer himself, albeit as a broke and hopeless young artist living in Vienna with two old Jews, in Urs Odermatt’s upcoming adaptation of George Tabori’s theatrical farce “Mein Kampf,” Tom Schilling continues to broaden his range and live up to his rep as one of Germany’s hardest-working young thesps.

Schilling has appeared in well over two dozen feature films and TV movies in the past decade. Most recently, the 27-year-old toplined Leander Haussmann’s quirky romantic-comedy “Robert Zimmermann Is Tangled Up in Love” and starred as a nutty right-wing assassin in a brief but weighty scene in Uli Edel’s “The Baader Meinhof Complex.”

Both Schilling and “Robert Zimmermann” are on this year’s shortlist for best actor and film Lolas.


Tyro handles drama and comedy

A relative newcomer to German cinema, Alexander Fehling is quickly climbing into the big leagues with starring roles in a number of high-profile projects.

After making his theatrical debut in Robert Thalheim’s 2007 drama “And Along Come Tourists,” the native Berliner starred in Heinrich Breloer’s epic hit “Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family.”

This year, Fehling not only appears in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds,” but also in Hans-Christian Schmid’s political thriller and Berlinale contender “Storm,” about the trial of an alleged Serbian war criminal in the Hague. But he can also play for laughs, as he does in Frieder Wittich’s student comedy “13 Semester,” which Fox is releasing domestically later this year.

Before his burgeoning career took off, the 28-year-old Fehling cut his teeth on the Berlin stage as well as in TV productions.


Actress toplines talked-about pics

She may have starred in two of Germany’s most hot-button productions last year, but for Nadja Uhl, simultaneous roles in “The Baader Meinhof Complex” and the TV movie “Mogadishu” posed an unprecedented challenge.

Both films shot key scenes at the same time in Morocco, and both films revolved around the same subject matter — the terrorism of West Germany’s Red Army Faction. In “Baader Meinhof,” she played the terrorist who planned the 1977 hijacking of a Lufthansa flight, while in “Mogadishu,” she was a real-life stewardess caught up in that same hijacking. The dual shooting schedule required the 36-year-old actress to deliver radically different perfs on a daily basis — quite an undertaking for any actor.

Uhl’s career has spanned 15 years and more than 30 film and TV productions; next up she stars alongside Til Schweiger in Warner Bros.’ romantic comedy “Maennerherzen” and Alexander Adolph’s drama “So gluecklich war ich noch nie.”