Volker Bruch’s career has been on the rise for the past decade but it was his major role in “Babylon Berlin,” Germany’s biggest-budgeted TV series, that cemented his status as one of the country’s leading stars. Bruch plays Gereon Rath, a haunted and drug-addicted young police commissioner in 1920s Berlin who is investigating a pornography ring that is blackmailing prominent public figures. The €40 million ($49.7 million) production has become the most-watched German series on Sky Deutschland and bested only by “Game of Thrones” among all shows.
Bruch, a native of Munich, first gained attention in Alain Gsponer’s award-winning family drama “Rose” and as a young murderer in Nils Willbrandt’s 2007 TV movie “Nichts ist vergessen.” He went on to star in Marcus H. Rosenmüller’s coming-of-age comedy “Good Times” and Nikolai Müllerschön’s 2008 “The Red Baron”; worked with Stephen Daldry in “The Reader”; and played a key role in Uli Edel’s terrorist drama “The Baader Meinhof Complex.” Bruch’s credits also include Joseph Vilsmaier’s mountaineering film “Nanga Parbat” and Philipp Stölzl’s 2010 period love story “Goethe!”
What attracted you to “Babylon Berlin” and what interested you the most about the role of Gereon Rath?
I was attracted by the wonderful people in the costume department! In addition, from the very start, this project was surrounded by something fantastic, something completely mad that always made you feel like you were in a very special place. I really wanted to be there, whatever the part.
How did you prepare for the role?
Again and again I took my suits out of the closet to remind myself how to move in that elegant manner; I revived my grandfather’s razor and danced as if it were a matter of life and death.
What has your experience been like working on Germany’s most expensive TV series ever compared to the many other films, TV movies and miniseries that you’ve worked on over the years?
Every project is different, many are enjoyable, some are work. “Babylon Berlin” is its own separate planet, with its own climate, its own vegetation. As an actor, to be a guest there is to be on an expedition to another world. It’s simply magnificent. I sometimes think I should just do that.
What has been your biggest challenge as an actor so far?