Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Witt Adds Acting to Repertoire Skater Stars in Hbo's `Ice Princess'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Witt Adds Acting to Repertoire Skater Stars in Hbo's `Ice Princess'

Article excerpt

HBO subscribers will find a new Katarina Witt when she stars in "Ice Princess" beginning Sunday at 6 p.m. The two-time Olympic gold medalist skates - and she acts, too.

Her fans may argue that Witt has been doing both during her skating career, bringing rare expression to her graceful routines on the ice. She even won an Emmy for her stunning "Carmen on Ice" on HBO in 1990.

But "Carmen" was strictly skating. "Ice Princess" is a fairy tale in which she plays a peasant girl who seeks to save her village from the oppressive taxes levied by corrupt landowners and politicians. Her pleas - and her sublime skating - capture the eye of the indolent prince. There's a happy ending, of course.

The German-born Witt, Olympic champion in 1984 and 1988 and four-time world champion, talked about the special in a telephone interview while she was in Cincinnati, touring with "Stars on Ice."

"We're touring 58 cities, a grueling schedule, one night in each city," she said. "All the traveling is most tiring, more than anything else. The most fun hours are being in front of the audience."

Although making "Ice Princess" didn't involve travel, it had other difficulties, Witt said.

"I was co-producing it, and I was involved in helping to write the story so it made sense on the ice," she explained. "I was involved in the music and every aspect of the whole movie, which was a very interesting adventure for me.

"During the shooting, I was the first on the set, 7-8 o'clock in the morning, and the last one to leave at midnight because of shooting and rehearsing for the skating. It was quite an experience. Especially since special music was written for it - it's not like you had the music ready and you just go for it.

"For a movie like this, you have to do the choreography for the music. Sometimes the music didn't make sense. So we went back into the studio and changed it. Something like this hasn't been done before, where the music is such a part of the story.

"Actually, I looked like I was on a vacation. Everybody didn't think I worked that hard because I looked so healthy. Probably because I liked doing it."

She was surrounded by professional actors in "Ice Princess" and minimized her own acting - preferring to call it "my first speaking role. …

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