Diane Kruger thought her flair for language would make her a natural fit for the lead role in Israeli helmer Yuval Adler’s spy thriller “The Operative,” which world-premiered out of competition at the Berlin Film Festival on Sunday.
“When I first read [the script], I thought immediately that this is a project that I really want to pursue,” Kruger said at a press conference alongside Adler and co-stars Martin Freeman and Cas Anvar. “The character kind of talked to me. I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I could be a Mossad agent.’”
To put that theory to the test, the German actress underwent five days of training with the Israeli security force to prepare for her role as a woman recruited by the Mossad to work undercover in Iran.
But it wasn’t a high-stakes story of international intrigue that drew her to the character of Rachel, a woman seemingly at home everywhere and nowhere at once. “She’s not a killer. This is not Jason Bourne or James Bond,” said Kruger.
The actress credited Adler, who wrote the script based on the novel “The English Teacher,” by Yiftach Reicher Atir, with crafting a strong female lead who’s forced to reckon with challenges that audiences could relate to.
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“We hadn’t seen a spy movie per se that was talking about the realities of what a spy really goes through every day,” she said. “I thought it was a very modern, refreshing take.”
Kruger added: “How do you live in a country for a couple of years, fall in love with somebody? You develop feelings, whether you have a family at home or not. How does one go about that? And at the end of the day, we’re all human. Things get messy. And I was interested in finding a truth in that.”